By Nqobeni Ndlovu
BULAWAYO — The country’s anti-stock theft campaign launched seven years ago, has resulted in a 17% drop in cattle rustling, police confirmed.
Anti-stock theft national coordinator, police assistant commissioner, Bernard Dumbura, last week told stakeholders during a re-launch of the Matabeleland North anti-stock theft campaign, that the drop in cattle rustling cases had resulted in an increase of the country’s cattle population to over 5,2 million.
Government plans to increase the national herd to 20 million.
Police launched the anti-stock theft campaign in 2005 when over 25 000 cattle were being stolen annually, following the land invasions of 2000.
“Over 25 000 cattle were being stolen annually before the launch of the anti-stock theft campaign in 2005. Since then, we have continued to register a decline in stock theft cases,” said Dumbura. “The number of cattle stolen was at 14 882 in 2010 and 4 952 cattle were recovered.
He said the number of cattle stolen had also decreased to 12 148 last year, compared to 14 882 in 2010.
Dumbura urged farmers to brand their cattle to curb stock-theft.
“The unit (police) realised that these figures can be further reduced if we constantly and collectively brand our cattle. branding of livestock helps to identify animals with their areas of origin and owners as well,” he said.