Total stock theft figures could be underestimated

Stock theft figures in South Africa might currently be underestimated by four times if University of the Free State (UFS) research is accurate.

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This could bring the value of livestock stolen across the country during the 2013/2014 financial year to just over R2 billion instead of the officially reported figure of R509 million.

During the 2013/2014 financial year, official stock theft figures showed that R43 million worth of goats, R100 million of sheep and R366 million of cattle were stolen, according to a statement from the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTPF). The forum constitutes all major livestock producer representative organisations, government safety, security and legal structures, and the department of agriculture.

However, according to NSTPF chairperson Willie Clack, research conducted by the UFS found that current official stock theft statistics were four times lower than actual figures.

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“This scourge threatens both the commercial farming sector as well as the emergent farming sector in most of the country. Aspects that are not always taken into account when livestock is stolen are the impacts [on the] job security [of] workers, and the dependence of people on the livestock for food and economic survival,” said Clack in the statement.

The blame for the prevalence of stock theft could not only be laid at the police’s door, but could also be attributed to non-compliance with livestock identification legislation by role-players in the SA red meat industry, the NSTPF said. 

The NSTPF asked these role-players to view relevant legislation at