The Department of Police, Roads and Transport (DPRT) on Wednesday hosted an anti-stock theft awareness campaign in Ladybrand following a steady increase in incidents in recent months.
The event was attended by MEC Mashinini, Executive Mayor of Mantsopa councillor M Tsoeu, members of the South African Police Services (SAPS), and the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF).
The purpose of the campaign was to urge farmers and livestock owners in the area to be more vigilant.
The department also encouraged them to mark their animals as prescribed by the Animal Identification Act of 2002 (Act No. 6 of 2002).
The department said although it was making some progress in dealing with stock theft, the problem remains persistent, especially on the borders of the province.
Mashinini identified stock theft as a major challenge in the area and urged farmers to employ trustworthy herd boys.
“Theft is hampering the empowerment of especially emerging livestock owners and is a huge threat to their profitability,” he noted.
He added it was important for farmers to mark all their animals within the Mantsopa Municipality precinct.
Livestock owners should also make sure their fences and gates are kept in good condition and their animals counted regularly.
The MEC further advised that livestock should be properly registered and always kraaled at night to avoid theft.
He urged the farmers to establish a night watch patrol together with the SAPS.
Mashinini said police should ensure that unattended cases are given attention and a report must be given to him in two months.