Meat vendors fuelling stock theft: Police

ZIMBABWE Republic Police’s national anti-stock theft co-ordinator, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Erasmus Makodza has called on local authorities to get tough with fresh meat vendors peddling their wares on the streets, accusing them of fuelling stock theft.

BY TALENT GUMPO

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Speaking at an anti-stocktheft meeting at the Cold Storage Commission head office in Bulawayo, Makodza said the rise in stock theft in the first quarter of this year was a cause for concern.

“After evaluating statistics on stock theft reports from January to today, we realise there is a huge increase in stock theft and ZimAsset goals cannot be achieved at the rate at which cattle are being stolen,” he said.

Makodza said Bulawayo had emerged as one of the leading markets for stolen livestock in the region.

“Bulawayo does not have livestock, but is one of the biggest markets for stolen cattle. The city fathers must address this issue because vendors are selling meat on streets. Where is it coming from? Everyone who sells meat on streets must be arrested. The market for meat rustlers in Bulawayo must be closed with immediate effect because it is posing a threat to the development of our economy,” he said.

Makodza urged stakeholders to desist from receiving stolen livestock, as it was a punishable offence.

“Make sure the stock you are receiving is not stolen by checking the authenticity of the paperwork that comes with it. We are lobbying for a law that makes that a punishable offence. We are lobbying for buyers of stolen stock to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, two times that of the rustler. Criminals will be caught and brought to book.”

Makodza urged farmers to make sure their cattle were branded, as a way of dealing with stocktheft cases.

“There are 10 cases of stock theft being reported to the police at Nyamandlovu every week. From the previous year there has been 133 cases reported, while only 47 were recovered,” Umguza district registrar, Edna Muringa said.

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