POTCHEFSTROOM – In a series of operations against stock theft, the North West Province Police in South Africa have arrested nine suspects in three separate incidents. These arrests, made between Wednesday, 15 and Friday, 17 November 2023, mark a significant crackdown on stock theft in the region.
According to South African Police Service, the first incident occurred on the morning of Wednesday, 15 November, when 160 sheep were allegedly stolen from a farm in Hartbeesfontein. The theft involved four suspects, including a former employee of the farm. Following a coordinated effort by the local police and Safety Watch, all the sheep were recovered, and two suspects were later apprehended. Matshidiso Mokopela (23) and Motseothatha Daniel Moreo (21) were arrested and appeared before the Klerksdorp Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 17 November. Both suspects were remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on 24 November.
In a separate incident on Thursday, 16 November, a farmer in Biesiesvlei responded to a neighbor’s alert about unusual noises coming from his kraal. He discovered a breach in the fence and missing livestock. The community’s pursuit of a suspicious vehicle resulted in the recovery of stolen goats and sheep and the arrest of one suspect. Further investigations by the Sannieshof Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit (STES) led to another arrest. The two apprehended individuals, aged 24 and 25, are set to appear before the Lichtenburg Magistrates’ Court on charges of stock theft.
The third incident unfolded on Friday, 17 November, when police, acting on a tip, intercepted a silver Mitsubishi vehicle carrying stolen sheep on the N12 road between Wolmaransstad and Bloemhof. The vehicle’s four occupants were arrested, and subsequent searches led to more arrests and the discovery of five sheep carcasses. A total of five suspects, aged between 25 and 36, are expected to face charges in the Wolmaransstad Magistrates’ Court.
Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, the North West Police Commissioner, lauded the collaborative efforts of the police teams and community members that led to these arrests. He emphasized the importance of community involvement in combating crime and urged farmers to comply with the Animal Identification Act for better tracking of livestock. These arrests are a part of ongoing efforts to deter stock theft in the region and safeguard the agricultural community.