Stock theft costs Eastern Cape consumers and farmers

MAY 26, 2015

The Eastern Cape has one of the highest reported incidences of stock theft in South Africa, which is affecting farmers and consumers alike in production losses, according to farmers' organisation, Agri Eastern Cape.

The organisation on Tuesday said that nationally, stock theft cost the country R509 million in 2013/14, with goats to the value of R43 million, sheep worth R100 million and cattle amounting to R366 million.

"However, research by the University of the Free State on behalf of the Red Meat Industry Trust suggests that the official statistics have been underestimated by as much as 75 per cent and that the losses should be closer to R2 billion," it added.

"The scourge threatens both the commercial and emergent farming sector, as losses impact on job security of workers as well as food sources."

Agri Eastern Cape, however, said that the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum had reported that since the adoption of the Animal Identification Act, which makes provision for the compulsory marking of livestock, there has been a significant decrease in stock theft.

"The Forum has urged all role players in the red meat industry to take an active role and abide by these existing laws, which support the industry and SAPS in combating stock theft and recovering stolen livestock.

"Livestock buyers such as farmers, speculators, stock-auctions, feedlots and abattoirs are often unknowing recipients of stolen livestock as they do not ensure that the livestock they purchase comply with the provisions of the law. In the process laws are transgressed and heavy fines can be imposed, or a perpetrator can be prosecuted," it said.

"The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum requests:

• That all livestock owners register a unique brand mark in their name and to apply it to all livestock in their possession in the prescribed manner as described in the Animal Identification Act.
• The completion and submission of the ‘Document of Identification’ and ‘Stock Removal Certificate’ with all transactions.
• That all livestock buyers, auctioneers, feedlots and abattoirs confirm livestock ownership and refuse to take ownership of livestock that are not marked or where the necessary documentation is not supplied.
• That all ‘Documents of Identification’ be kept on record for 12 months.

"Stock Theft Units are instructed to strictly apply the Animal Identification Act, Act 6 of 2002 and the Stock Theft Act, Act 57 of 1959, to all buyers of livestock with zero tolerance."

Legislation available at www.redmeatsa.co.za.

Image: www.delavidaboran.co.za