UDM asks Cyril for a stock-theft unit


UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to set up a special stock-theft unit as a way of curbing the scourge in the Eastern Cape.
The rampant stock-theft in the province, which has seen many people killed and hundreds of livestock stolen has been escalated to Ramaphosa after some livestock owners met with Holomisa, saying they were under siege from armed thieves.
Holomisa has written to Ramaphosa asking him to intervene.
Holomisa’s letter comes after 24 cattle, paid for Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko’s lobola, were stolen in Mthatha on December 27.
They were later recovered and a man was arrested.
Stock-theft is rife in Mqanduli, Elliotdale, Mthatha, Bhityi and Xhongorha, Qumbu, Tsolo, Ngcobo and some parts of Buffalo City Metro.
“The unabated continuation of the stock-theft in these rural areas threatens the very possibility of rural development and enjoyment of decent livelihood by the rural people,” Holomisa wrote.
He said it was crucial that Ramaphosa intervened as he believed there was a sophisticated syndicate operating in the province.
Holomisa said he had written to Ramaphosa after responding to an official invitation by the Masifunisane community organisation, a voluntary association of small-scale rural livestock farmers who live around Elliotdale. Holomisa said Masifunisane had accused some of the Mqanduli police and stock-theft unit of working with stock-theft suspects.
He said the provincial authorities had been alerted to the challenge that this offered, “but up to date they have dismally failed to make the required intervention and resolve the situation”.
An award-winning Eastern Cape gospel singer Butho Vuthela’s family was robbed of close to 380 dorper sheep worth about R450,000 by armed bandits in three incidents between 2015 and last year at Upper Ngxakaxha village near Mount Fletcher.
No one was arrested in all the three incidents.
Masifunisane president Phumzile Sidaya said at least 1,000 sheep and 200 cattle had been stolen from OR Tambo farmers over three years.
“These thieves, armed with rifles and pistols, do not just steal the livestock from the field, but rob people at gunpoint at their homes at night,” said Sidaya.
Rahuma Shaik of the Presidency acknowledged receiving Holomisa’s letter...

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