The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will table a motion with notice at the next sitting of the Limpopo legislature to debate tangible solutions to the challenges facing farmers in the province.
“We will be proposing a motion that sets out concrete and achievable solutions to address challenges faced by farmers due to an increase in livestock theft and the effects this has on the agricultural sector,” DA MPL Suzan Katlego Phala said on Tuesday.
The crime figures for the second quarter of 2022–23 provided significant cause for concern regarding the increase in reports of stock theft, according to Phala.
According to the National Livestock Theft Prevention Forum, cases not being reported to police were increasing and resulted in a skewed picture of the problem.
The forum’s report found that Livestock Officers who investigate these cases often find that many of the crimes remain unreported.
“The lack of arrests and successful prosecution of these syndicates stiffens the resolve of these organizations to continue with their illicit activities. They know that they can get away with it as long as they are careful. Authorities are not very diligent about catching them. This has made them even more determined to operate undetected,” said Phala.
The number of incidents of stock theft reported during the period of July to September 2022 increased by 741, compared to 567 for the same period in 2021.
Both communal and commercial farmers are devastated by the 30,7 % increase in stock theft.
According to Phala, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, confirmed in 2020 that stock theft was a problem and promised to fix it, but reported incidents kept increasing.
“We believe that the exponential increase in stock theft is indicative of negligible policing and a questionable approach to the problem. A lack of resources, specifically vehicles, compounded the challenges around effective policing,” said Phala.
She said there are only 8 Stock Theft and Endangered Species units in Limpopo with 80 SAPS officials who share 44 vehicles.
Phala added that the DA would continue to hold the SAPS accountable for policing our rural areas effectively.