Joint anti-crime effort recovers stolen livestock along Maluti border

MARCH 22, 2016

Operation Maluti 2016, a well-coordinated Trilateral Anti-Crime operation on the borders of South Africa, Lesotho, KwaZulu Natal and Free State, yielded desired results when various livestock were recovered between 16 and 19 March.

According to police spokesperson, Lieutenant Khaya Tonjeni, at least 16 cattle (valued at R144 000) were recovered and repatriated to Lesotho while  4 goats (valued at R4000) , three sheep (valued at R3000) and one horse (valued at R3000.00) were also recovered and impounded in Matatiele Pound as two parties from South Africa and Lesotho disputed about the ownership of the livestock.

"This multi-disciplinary operation by SAPS, SANDF (South African National Defence Force), NIA (National Intelligence Agency) and Home Affairs was aimed at combatting cross border crimes like stock theft, drug smuggling, illegal immigration and vehicle theft," explained Lt Tonjeni.

"A decision to have this operation was taken after a steady increase in reported cases of trans national border crime like stock theft, smuggling of firearms, stolen vehicles and drugs was noticed."

The operation started on Tuesday at Maluti in Matatiele with visits to five stockposts/farms, four vehicle stop-and-searches with at least 384 vehicles checked and 1541 persons searched for possession of drugs, dangerous weapons, firearms and their immigration status.

"Twelve cases ranging from property theft, possession of suspected stolen stock, possession of dagga, stock theft (goats and cattle and one horse) were opened at Afsondering SAPS and seven suspects aged between 22 and 37 will soon appear in the Maluti Magistrate’s Court facing various charges related to stock theft,"Lt Tonjeni.

"One suspect(22) was arrested for not having legal documents to be in the country and Home Affairs will follow up with the case. More arrests are eminent as police will investigate the cases and bring more suspects under arrest and prosecution."

Major Sello Rute, SAPS Provincial Stock theft Co-ordinator said, “The collaboration and cooperation between the role-players resulted in the achievement of the desired results and with the continued support of the community and stock owners, police will arrest, prosecute and ultimately eliminate the cross border crime in a short time to ensure that the rule of law is restored in our borders.”