VILLAGERS at Sigola in Matabeleland South have raised concerns over rising cases of cattle rustling in the area, saying it is pushing them into poverty.
Disgruntled villagers told Southern Eye that they have been waking up to finding their cattle kraals vandalised and some of their beast slaughtered in nearby bushes.
“What is happening in our area is very disturbing,” Thulani Ndlovu, who lost two beasts to rustlers, said.
“We have been waking up to find cattle kraals vandalised and some cattle stolen.
“What makes it even worse is that, it the bulls that are stolen, yet they are the most important to us when it comes to selling and farming.
“When you try and track down the cattle, all we find are the remains of the carcass in the bush.”
Villagers said the rampant stocktheft was pushing them further into poverty, as they depended on cattle rearing for subsistence.
“Cattle theft in this area is a cause for concern, as it is exposing us to poverty,” Muziwethu Sinyolo, who lost four bulls between November and January, said.
“We depend on them for food, farming and we sell some to generate funds to keep us going especially during these trying times.”
Villagers, who said the festive season was particularly harsh on them, as cases of theft increased drastically, said they suspect that their cattle were being stolen by outsiders, who were assisted by some of the villagers.
“We strongly believe that our cattle are being stolen by outsiders who are conniving with the locals,” Dalumuzi Ndebele said.
“How would one know if a homestead has cattle? What courage would one have to trespass into other people’s yard?”
Villagers said they had reported the matter to the police on several occasions, but so far they had received no joy.
They urged police mounting roadblocks to search for beef in cars, as they believed that those slaughtering the cattle were selling the meat in Bulawayo.