Emerging livestock producers in Thabazimbi and the surrounding areas may go out of business due to rampant livestock theft in Limpopo province.
Several farmers who spoke to African Times this week stated that when they report incidents to the police, they do not receive updates on the status of their cases.
Enraged farmers from various parts of Mogalakwena Local Municipality apprehended two men last week after discovering them in possession of five allegedly stolen cattle.
The men, who cannot be identified because no criminal charges have been filed against them, were assaulted, and the animals were returned to their legitimate owners.
“I was not one of the guys who captured the thieves, but what I can tell you is that people are tired of this. There were many livestock theft cases opened, but nothing was done.
“Our businesses are collapsing because of the livestock theft that is rampant in the province. In 2020, my brother died of heart failure after discovering that all his cattle had been stolen. The matter was reported to the police, but nothing happened until today,” said Mike Kgohloane, a livestock farmer and community leader from Thabazimbi.
Kgohloane said he was frustrated that victims of theft were reporting to him before approaching the authorities.
Another farmer, Meshack Mkhonza, stated that his business was on the verge of collapse due to the theft of livestock.
“When we report the matter to the police, they don’t even bother to update us about the progress of the case. I remember that on the 8th of March in 2020, they stole 11 cattle from my herd, which consisted of 25 livestock. I reported the matter to the police, but they did not even bother to tell me whether they went to them or not. This year, on May 9, they spirited away two of my cattle, and I reported the matter, but nothing happened,” said Mkhonza.
The irate 75-year-old Mkhonza added that the theft of his cattle was a significant problem for him because he purchased them after retiring from a local mine and no longer has the means to purchase replacements.
He added that many of the province’s livestock owners were retired miners in their golden years.
Last month, police in Limpopo seized 66 animals being conveyed in a Toyota Quantum with a massive trailer. The confiscated livestock included 13 ewes and 53 goats.
In a separate incident, Limpopo police and members of the Stock Theft Unit recovered 14 suspected stolen cattle in the Sekhukhune District during the same month.
Moeding and Mamphokgo villages discovered the livestock in distinct locations.
Convicted livestock thieves, Ishmael Manamela (40), Abel Maboa (58), and David Simona (63), were each sentenced to 10 years for stealing livestock by the Polokwane High Court.
Limpopo provincial police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba confirmed that livestock theft was a problem in the province.
“We urge those with information concerning livestock theft to contact the police,” Ledwaba said.