Cross border small stock rustlers have become a nightmare for farmers along the borderline. The rampant cross border livestock theft along Botswana and South Africa is keeping Ramatlabama police on their toes. Police are working around the clock to curb the crime with the evidence pointing to the direction of South Africa.
“There is a syndicate of livestock thieves amongst South Africans and Batswana forcing farmers along the borderline to sleep with one eye open. Earlier this month, 10 goats belonging to a farmer at Pitsane village were stolen and tracked across the border. Then, the rustlers destroyed the fence of a kraal at the back and stole the 10 goats,” he said.
However, with the help of South African police, Mbisana said they managed to recover six of the stolen 10 goats currently kraaled in Rustenburg pond. He further revealed that a South African national suspected to be part of the syndicate has been arrested in relation to the matter.
“A police manhunt has been launched to arrest two suspects who are still at large after escaping the crime scene on arrival of the police. The arrested suspect is a habitual offender who was recently arrested for a similar offence,” Mbisana said.
He said cross border livestock theft remains a concern and threatened the country’s agricultural economy because some of the farmers located along the borderline have since relocated.
“With the help of South African Police Service we have since established that the rustlers have identified a market in Lehurutshe and Madute villages in South Africa where we have in the past recovered a number of livestock. These networks used to target cattle but they have since shifted to small stock (goats and sheep),” Mbisana said.
The senior police officer also revealed that these transnational organised stock theft networks have gone to the extent of stealing cattle at night from kraals in Botswana. The case follows another one in which 11 sheep and nine goats were stolen from a farmer in Botswana a month ago and later recovered from South Africa.
Then, the thieves were arrested in possession of the said small stock in an Isuzu bakkie driving along the Botsalano Game Reserve in South Africa through the help of the South African Defence Force. Mbisana called on farmers not to desert their farms disclosing to have intensified their patrols.
“We have formed a strong partnership with South African Police Service and South African Defence Force and they have been helpful. Through this partnership we have been making breakthroughs and managed to recover the stolen livestock from South Africa which were later transported back to Batswana farmers,” he said.
However, Mbisana called on farmers to be cautious at all times and encouraged them to form neighborhood watch to help the police to fight curb this scourge through their teamwork.