VILLAGERS in Esigodini, Matabeleland South have raised concerns over rising cases of cattle rustling and theft of their harvested crop that they said was the cause of unending hunger in the region.
By Linda Chinobva
Disgruntled villagers who spoke to Southern Eye said they are waking up to find their livestock stolen and their granaries vandalised.
One of the villagers who identified herself as Gogo MaNdlovu said in the past weeks she has been waking up to find her grains stolen from the granary.
“I am disappointed in what is happening in our area because all of a sudden there are a number of reports of both stock and harvest theft,” she said.
“Considering that I am an 80-year-old granny, when one steals from me, where do they expect me to get food?”
“This area is dry and is known for hunger because of the little rain that we receive. However, the last farming season was better and I managed to harvest crops that would push me through to the next season, but now someone comes to steal from me,” a visible distressed Gogo MaNdlovu said.
Another villager, Rita Ncube said on three occasions she found her grains on the ground, an indication that someone had tempered with it.
“On three different occasions I have woken up to find my granary vandalised, with some of the maize seeds scattered on the ground.”
“What surprises me the most is that, these thieves seem to be targeting female-headed homes,” she said.
Sikhangelene Mpofu said she had lost two beasts and found the remains of the carcasses in the bush.
“We rely on cattle for our livelihood, particularly farming and when they are stolen, our livelihood is seriously disturbed,” she said.
“Livestock theft is now a cause for concern because we make a living out of these very beasts,” she said.
“We depend on them for food and we sell some to raise money to send our children to school and if thieves continue stealing our livestock, we will soon be left poor and hunger-stricken.”
The villagers said they suspected that some villagers were conniving with city dwellers to steal their livestock.
“We strongly suspect that some of us are conniving with outsiders because it does not make sense that someone who doesn’t know the area can just come and steal livestock from a homestead he knows nothing about,” a villager, Nqobile Ncube said.
In February this year, the national anti-stock theft co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Mashonaland West provinces recorded the highest figures of stock theft.
Matabeleland South recorded 1 954 cases of stock theft between 2015 and 2016.