…Police refutes the accusations
Sankoyo tribal leader, Kgosi Gokgathang Moalosi of Sankoyo village has recently joined many other farmers who have over the years blamed the police and the country’s judicial system for the rising stock theft cases. The police are accused of failing to promptly attend to stock theft incidents when reported to them, while the courts are accused of the delays in disposing of the cases.
Moalosi, who is furious at losing over 40 cattle to thieves in two years, has said the magistrate courts’ have delayed in finalising cases brought before them and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book.
Just recently, Moalosi lost six cattle to thieves at his cattle post in Gogomoga out of which four were heavily pregnant. Moalosi said while a report was made about the incident who then also reported the matter to the Botswana Police’s stock theft unit who failed to promptly respond to the call.
Moalosi said the informer upon realising that officers were taking long to arrive at the scene he then phoned the Special Support Group (SSG) who immediately responded. He said upon arrival it was indeed found that six of his cattle worth around P30 000 were slaughtered. Moalosi revealed that about 500 meters from the scene there were four more unidentified heads found taking the number of cattle killed in that area to 10.
Furthermore, the chief revealed that after the incident he realised that one of his beasts has also been missing for almost a week which he suspects has also been stolen. Not only that, the chief revealed that he also lost 37 other cattle to thieves last year in addition to the seven stolen in July this year.
What pains Moalosi even more is that these cases were reported to the police, but no arrests have been made. Moalosi is of the view that police are very reluctant in attending to such stock theft cases because they might be working in cahoots with the culprits.
In response, Maun Police Station Commander Superintendent Dennis Zilawe refuted allegations that they are incompetent. Speaking about the recent case in which Moalosi lost 6 of his cattle Zilawe said upon receiving the call from the informer, the police were engaged with some other issues and they then informed the Special Support Group (SSG) to attend to the case on their behalf. The station commander confirmed that the case is currently under investigation and no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, Zilawe has acknowledged that cases of stock theft take time to be dealt with because of investigations carried adding that after being recorded the case is filed with the DPP where it sometimes takes more than three months before taken to the courts of law.
“The courts also do have time frames for such cases, and people need to know about such things and not feel that they are not being helped in time,” he said.
The station commander revealed that since January this year they have recorded more than 81 cases of stock. He since advised that farmers should at all times know that they are the first line of defense and the police comes second stressing that they should make sure that they guard against their livestock at all times so that they don’t give perpetrators opportunity to steal.
“Most of the cases that we get are those that farmers are not at the cattle post and at times this herds are left stranded in the bush and that gives perpetrators advantage to execute their motives therefore we always advise that farmers should invest in the cattle by making sure that are taken care of 24/7,” he added.