Police worry over stock theft levels


GUTU – Police is extremely worried by the rate of stock theft in Masvingo and new strategies are being implemented to contain the problem, Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Commissioner David Mahoya has said. Mahoya said this when he launched Masvingo Provincial Anti-Stock theft Awareness Campaign at Mushayavanhu High School under Chief Nyamandi in Gutu on Wednesday last week.The function was also attended by Chief Gutu, Chief Chiwara, Chief Nyamandi, Chief Munyaradzi, Gutu CEO Alexander Mutembwa, Gutu DDDC, Chiedza Tafirei, Provincial Registrar Sithembeni Chitsa, ZPCS Masvingo Deputy Officer Commanding, Nesai Hlabano, Assistant Commissioner Shelton Dube and Assistant Commissioner Florence Marume.The campaign runs under the theme; National herd – Our livestock, our wealth is our concern.Mahoya said that there is rampant stock theft in Masvingo and yet livestock is an important economic pillar for the generality of Zimbabweans. He said it was crucial to protect the national herd from stock thieves not only because it forms an economic pillar but because it provides food security and nutrition to the people as well.He said that 528 cattle were stolen this year alone and this reflects an increase of 60% compared to 331 in 2021. Even more worrying is that the thieves have moved from cattle to stealing other animals including goats and chicken.Police has as a result come up with a strategy to counter the crime and added that the strategy will only work with the support and cooperation of the public.Firstly Police will establish Anti-Stock Theft Liaison committees to enhance interaction between the Police and players in the livestock and meat industries.Farmers will be encouraged to pen and count their livestock daily and to report cases of stolen cattle timeously. Farmers will also be urged to brand and ear-tag their livestock to improve traceability and identification. Abattoirs and butcheries will be required to stick firmly to the requirements and regulations governing the livestock and meat industries.“Today I officially launch the Masvingo Province anti-stock theft awareness campaign. At all cost offences as slaughtering of cattle for commercial purposes at unauthorised places, the selling of meat by butcheries that are not licensed or not in possession of medical certificates should be avoided.“As ZRP we believe with concerted efforts by stakeholders, farmers and police stock theft cases will decline. Livestock is the backdrop of most farmers who rely on cattle for draught power.“The stock thieves are now targeting goats and chicken. If we cooperate we will fight rampant stock theft together. Clearance should be done not at the desktop but on the ground. We will set up anti-stock theft liaisons, remind farmers on daily counting of herd, timeous reports of stock theft cases, sharing information, tipoffs to Police through suggestion boxes and telephone calls, ear tag as well as brand marks,” said Commissioner Mahoya.ZRP has so far arrested 69 cattle thieves compared to 68 during the same period in 2021.Gutu District Veterinary Supervisor Officer, Josephat Sungai said his department will play its part and thanked Police for the fresh initiative.ZRP also has an operation called ‘Nyama Yabvepi’ under which they monitor the source of meat sold by any butchery. The butcheries should also produce health certificates.There is also the exercise to monitor the slaughtering of cattle and the selling of meat.Under ‘Operation Surveillance’ the unit deploys officers in plain clothes to monitor butcheries at night and to monitor the movement of meat as there are some who bring in meat not slaughtered at slaughter houses.

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