THE Zimbabwe Republic Police’s anti-stocktheft unit yesterday revealed that over 800 cattle rustlers were arrested last year although stocktheft cases had gone down by 26% compared to the same period in 2013.
Addressing stakeholders during a tour of the newly-established Bellevue Abbatoirs in Norton, the unit’s national co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura attributed the drop in stocktheft cases to extensive campaigns held throughout the country.
Dumbura said cattle-branding programmes had also acted as a deterrent to stocktheft.
“The unit recorded 4 711 cases in 2013 as compared to 3 473 in 2014, translating to a 26% decrease. A total of 10 667 cattle were stolen in year 2013 as compared to 7 297, giving a 32% decrease in 2014,” Dumbura said.
“A total of 805 suspects were arrested for stocktheft while 21 566 were arrested for stocktheft-related offences in 2014. Records for 2014 indicate that those convicted of stocktheft received jail sentences ranging from nine to 90 years.”
He said the unit has launched several campaigns to fight cattle rustlers and educate farmers on proper management of their livestock.
“We had a campaign code-named, Operation Gcinani Izifuyo/Chengetedzai Zvipfuyo focusing on good livestock management practice.”
“We also have exercises such as Inyama Uyithethe Ngaphi/Operation Nyama Yabvepi under which the police monitor the source of meat sold by any butchery. Butcheries should be able to verify where they got the meat from.
“We also had a mission called Operation Surveillance focused on monitoring the operation of butcheries, abattoirs and food outlets,” he said.
Agriculture deputy minister (Livestock Production) Paddy Zhanda attended the function.