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MEC, police,farmers towork together

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The vastness of the Province was a major challenge but that measures had been put in place to alleviate the situation.

“ELIMINATING” stock theft and farm murders were the major issues discussed during a multi-stakeholder meeting between the MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation, Nomandla Bloem, the Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Major-General Phiwe Mnguni, the National African Farmers Union, Saam Werk Saam Trek and the African Farmers Association of SA.

The spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Zandisile Luphahla, said the meeting was sparked by the murder of a farmer who was allegedly killed and buried in a shallow grave by a Lesotho national who tried to flee with the livestock of the deceased.

The suspect was arrested and was denied bail at his appearance before the Kuruman Magistrate’s Court.

Bloem said that the spate of farm murders had become a concern and vigorous intervention is required.

“After I was sworn in to lead the department more than six months ago, I had the opportunity to criss-cross the Province through the Farmers Imbizos, where I got a chance to meet farmers face to face. Their main concern was stock theft and the rampant killing of farmers. The murder of one emerging farmer, whose body was buried in shallow grave in Kuruman, because of the prevalent stock theft, made me realise that we need to do something about this. Farming is the economic backbone of our Province. We need to protect our farmers as they are the economic drivers,” said Bloem.

Mnguni said that stock theft is one of the priority crimes in the Province, with the Pixley ka Seme district leading the way with the most reported cases of stock theft followed by the Frances Baard district.

Mnguni encouraged farmers to work closely with the police and to mark their livestock with compulsory animal identification.

He added that the vastness of the Province was a major challenge but that measures had been put in place to alleviate the situation.

The unions agreed to work closely with law enforcement agencies and indicated that a good partnership will lead to the eradication of the criminal activities.

Bloem agreed that engagement and a solid partnership is required to eliminate the problem.