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Police operation cracks down on Limpopo cattle theft syndicate, suspect busted

Limpopo small-scale farmers in the Lephalale, Tolwe, Mokopane and Marken areas are being taken out of the market by criminals who steal and auction off their cattle.

Limpopo Police Spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said police received a tip-off that a syndicate was active in the areas.

He said an operation was launched to catch thieves in the act.

Brigadier Mojapelo said operation included the National Tactical Response Team, Tolwe Detectives, Provincial Stock Theft Unit, and Steiloop Stock Theft Forum.

“The two-day intelligence-driven joint operation which lasted until October 18 2022, yielded positive results. Six cattle were discovered after the suspect off-loaded them on the side of the road, where they were supposed to be picked up for auction,” said police spokesperson.

He said as the operation continued, police spotted a Ford Ranger with a trailer driving at a high speed in Tolwe, near Groblersbrug borderpost, outside Lephalale.

“The vehicle was stopped, pulled over and during the cross examination, a suspect was positively linked with stock theft incidents. While police continue with investigation, five more stolen cattle were found kept on his farm around Tolwe.”

Brigadier Mojapelo said the 54-year-old suspect, Johannes Tsita appeared before the Tolwe periodical court on Thursday.

He was remanded in custody. The suspect will appear again in the Senwabarwana Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Limpopo Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe had commended the members of the SAPS for the well-coordinate operation and thanked the community members for their support in curbing stock theft incidents in the Province.

Police urge community members who might have recently lost cattle to visit the Livestock Pound in Bochum for positive identification purposes.

Small-scale farmers who suspect their livestock may have been stolen should contact the Branch Commander Detective Warrant Office Paul Makhutja via telephone on 082 414 1883.

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