Ricochet News

Scores of stock thieves stopped in their tracks across the Eastern Cape

Jan 24, 2018
Scores of stock thieves stopped in their tracks across the Eastern Cape

Stock theft and the illicit trade of dealing in meat from stolen stock were dealt a hard blow when various intelligence driven-operations conducted by different clusters in the past week in the Eastern Cape province yielded results.

The King William’s Town Stock Theft Unit (STU) held an operation over the past weekend that resulted in the arrest of two suspects aged between 35 and 63, after three cattle with an estimated value of R21 000 were reported stolen from Yellowwood farm.

"The stock were later recovered at Tyutyu Village, in Bisho, and two suspects, who are also employees at Yellowwood farm were arrested," said police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni.

"They appeared at Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Monday and the complainant withdrew all the charges."

He said that the Stutterheim STU followed up information after a local stock owner reported to the police that his cow was slaughtered next to the local railway line.

"Police arrested the suspect, 27 years old,  but learnt that he was not immediately charged because the Director of Public Prosecutions and the State Prosecutor felt there was no case.

"A letter had since been forwarded to the DPP and SPP’s office challenging the decision," said Capt Tonjeni.

"The case has since been put back on the court roll. The suspect is expected to appear before the Stutterheim Magistrate’s Court on Monday 05 February 2018. A J175 has since been issued much to the delight of the complainant."

He said that the Stutterheim STU again arrested two suspects, aged between 21 and 23 years old, and charged them for stock theft after four sheep were stolen from Woodreach Farm, in Stutterheim, and taken to the direction of Mdantsane, East London.

"Both accused did a confession and pointing out of crime scene. They are expected to appear at Stutterheim Magistrate’s Court on Thursday."

Capt Tonjeni said that the Aliwal North Stock Theft Unit followed up information that led to the recovery of 108 sheep that were reported stolen from a farm at Hershel, in Lady Grey.

"The sheep were positively identified and handed to the rightful owner.  No one was arrested yet, but police are following leads and have information on the identity and whereabouts of the suspects," he described.

"An arrest is eminent." 

Capt Tonjeni said that the Libode STU followed up on information that resulted in the arrest of two stock theft suspects, Nceba Mene (44) and Siphiwesihle Hawu-hawu (24) on 27 December, who were in possession of five sheep without the proper documentation to prove legitimate ownership.

"The sheep were reported stolen in Engcobo. The two briefly appeared at Libode Magistrate’s Court that and were released on bail of R500 - the case was remanded to 12 March 2018," he said.

He added that the Maluti STU intercepted and arrested a suspect, 38 years old, with 17 after he failed to produce proof of ownership.

"The sheep were reported stolen by a local farmer the previous day. They were returned to their rightful owner and the suspect is expected to appear at Maluti Magistrate’s Court on Thursday facing a charge of stock theft," Capt Tonjeni said. 

"Twenty two sheep were also successfully recovered on Tuesday at Tarkastad by STU members after they were reported missing."

No suspect was arrested and the sheep were returned to their rightful owner after positive identification of ownership was established.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner. Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga applauded the breakthroughs in curbing stock theft in the province and encouraged the police officers to remain focused on intelligence-driven operations to stop the theft of stock.

“Our members must not rest until these stock theft cases are solved and suspects involved arrested. Police do not take the theft of stock lightly as it amounts to theft of peoples livelihoods especially in rural areas.

"We will intensify our operations in rural areas through our Integrated Rural Policing Strategy and intelligence driven operations, including the newly launched national intervention - Operation Fiela II,”added Lt Gen Ntshinga.