Cops bust for stock theft after Hawks act on tip-off received in wake of Brendin Horner murder

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  • Five police officers and two animal stock brokers were arrested on Tuesday in the Free State. 
  • Community members first raised the alarm about a stock theft syndicate when the police minister visited the area following Brendin Horner's murder.
  • The group is expected to appear in the Ladybrand Magistrate's Court on Thursday. 

Seven people, including five police officers, have been arrested on charges of stock theft in the Free State after the murder of  Brendin Horner in Senekal brought allegations of police involvement in stock theft to light. 

The officers and two animal stock brokers were arrested on Tuesday by the Hawks and the police's Tactical Response Team in Bloemfontein and Ladybrand as part of a larger investigation into stock theft in the province.  

Hawks spokesperson Christopher Singo said the arrests stemmed from allegations by community members that police were involved in stock theft following the murder of Horner. The allegations were made during Police Minister Bheki Cele's engagement with the community after Horner's death. 

ANALYSIS | Free State stock theft: Crooked cops, common enemies and the long road ahead

"The minister of police visited the Eastern Free State, where farmers made allegations against police officials allegedly involved in stock theft. A multi-disciplinary task team was established to investigate these allegations, which led to the arrest of police officials and animal stock brokers. During the arrest of two stock brokers, police also discovered two unlicensed firearms," said Singo.

In October, during the bail application of Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa - the men charged with Horner's murder, who was strangled on a farm in Paul Roux - News24 reported that police involvement in stock theft was under the spotlight. 

During the application, Matlaletsa's lawyer questioned one of the investigating officers, Captain Gerhardus Myburgh, about the police's alleged involvement in stock theft syndicates, to which he confirmed there was evidence police officers were complicit in the syndicates.

The group has been charged with stock theft, defeating the administration of justice, and perjury, while the stock brokers face additional charges of possession of unlicensed firearms.

The group is expected to appear in the  Ladybrand Magistrate's Court on Thursday. 

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