‘Stolen livestock sold to traditional healers’

An upsurge in livestock theft cases in Ganyesa in North West have some farmers pointing to traditional healers. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

An upsurge in livestock theft cases in Ganyesa in North West have some farmers pointing to traditional healers. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

North West police have poured cold water on allegations by a farmer from Ganyesa near Vryburg that livestock are being stolen and given to traditional healers.

Boitshoko Molapisi, a local farmer from the village in North West, says that a syndicate is operating in the area, selling stolen livestock to traditional healers in Ganyesa. He says that, earlier this month, he lost 25 of his goats this way.

“Out of the 40 goats, we only got 15. The police know about the matter. I am not the only one who has the same challenge. There are many of us here,” Molapisi says.

Although police don’t deny an uptick in stock theft in the area, they dismiss the claims around the motive of the thefts.

Calling for collaboration

A traditional healer who practices in the area, dismisses the claims made by a local farmer.

Nosipho Mqamu Majozi tells Food For Mzansi, “No, those are far-fetched claims. The situation could be that the traditional healers are buying those animals under the knowledge of the seller being the owner.

“We do not think there could be a traditional healer in good standing who can participate in such activities.”

She adds that, if there were any truth to such claims, it would be “very unfortunate”. She feels that stock theft in the area is a concern for everyone and proactive steps need to be taken for all stakeholders to engage.

North West Farmers Union leader Norman Muller shares Majozi’s sentiments that there is a great need for collaboration.

“It will not help us to point fingers at each other. All people are affected – both the farmers and the community at large. We need to work together.”

A need for better policing

According to police spokesperson Sam Tselenyane law enforcers needed to up their game. This, following the release of crime stats for the second quarter of the 2021-2022 financial year.

“We can confirm that there is an increase of stock theft in the area. However, the issue of the motive behind it is under investigation. There are a number of cases that are under investigation.

“The provincial commissioner has held a number of engagements in the area, one being a summit that was held in Ganyesa to come up with solutions on the matter,” Tselenyane says.

North West police spokesperson Sam Tselenyane. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

The latest available quarterly crime statistics (July to September 2021) revealed that reported stock theft cases almost doubled in Ganyesa – from 17 to 33 – in the last two years.

Tselenyane tells Food For Mzansi that because of the escalating number of stock theft cases, the police service is in the process of establishing two stock theft units in the province.

With the festive season fast approaching, Tselenyane is further urging farmers to be extra vigilant with the security of their livestock.

“Farmers, particularly in the rural areas, are encouraged to be on their guard and make sure their animals are secured as much as possible.

“They should monitor and count their livestock regularly and they should mark or brand them; they should ensure the livestock are safe.”

Tselenyane also called on members of society to stop labelling people as thieves or having benefited from crime-related incidents without concrete evidence.

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