Noodsaaklike vergadering met owerhede oor veediefstal en misdaad gehou

Misdaad en veediefstal is só ’n groot probleem in die provinsie dat landbouers selfs in die toekoms privaat-ondersoekers kan inspan om te help om dit te bekamp. Met hierdie stelling het Francois Wilken, President van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), die impak van dié probleme aan die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens (SAPD) en Nasionale Vervolgingsgesag (NVG) in die Vrystaat beklemtoon.

Hy het gewaarsku dat produsente hulle hiertoe kan wend, aangesien hulle “geweldige finansiële verliese ly en daar ’n lae voorkoms van arrestasies en kriminele vervolging in sekere gebiede is”. Hy het terselfdertyd ook die SAPD bedank vir die werk wat hy reeds doen.

“Daar moet ook meer gefokus word op die verantwoordbaarheid van polisiebeamptes in terme van bevelstrukture,” het Wilken gesê. Johann Stadler, Voorsitter van die Veediefstal-voorkomingsforum van die Vrystaatse Rooivleisprodusente-organisasie (RPO), het by hom aangesluit deur ook verskeie probleme uit te lig.

In ’n poging om misdaad aan te spreek, het Wilken en VL, asook die RPO, op 16 September 2019 ’n noodsaaklike vergadering met senior bestuur van die SAPD en NVG in die provinsie gehou. Kwessies soos hoë veediefstal, probleme by die grens tussen Suid-Afrika en Lesotho, asook tekorte aan personeel en hulpmiddels by veediefstaleenhede, was onder meer op die agenda.

SAPD spreek probleme só aan

VL en die RPO het aan die betrokke partye gesê daar was ’n toename in veediefstal van tot 100% in sekere gebiede. Volgens Wilken is die opleiding van polisielede by veediefstaleenhede, tekorte aan personeel by sekere polisiestasies, gebrek aan dienslewering en tekorte aan hulpbronne soos voertuie by polisiestasies ook bespreek.

Lt. Genl. Moeketsi Sempe, Provinsiale Kommissaris van die SAPD, het gesê die SAPD neem kennis van die probleme en dat hulle daarna streef om dit aan te preek. Ekstra beamptes gaan, sodra hulle hul opleiding voltooi het, byvoorbeeld by veediefstaleenhede geplaas word.

Verder sal nóg ekstra voertuie beskikbaar gestel word om te help om misdaad te bekamp. Dit volg nadat sowat 50 voertuie vroeër aan landelike polisiestasies se koördineerders voorsien is.

Landbouers se plig

Adv. Jacques Harrington het namens die NVG produsente versoek om seker te maak hul diere is gemerk en dat hulle dit gereeld getel. Gevalle kom voor waar die SAPD produsente inlig dat hul vee gesteel is en dit maak sake ingewikkeld, aangesien landbouers nie betyds kennis neem van hul diere wat gesteel word nie.

Wilken het gesê alle partye is versoek om binne die huidige raamwerk saam te werk om misdaad te bekamp.

Necessary meeting held with authorities on stock theft and crime

Crime and livestock theft are such big problems in the province that farmers can even in future make use of private investigators to help combat it. With this statement Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), emphasized the impact of these problems to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Free State.

He warned that producers could turn to this avenue as they “suffer enormous financial losses and there are a low number of arrests and criminal prosecution in certain areas”. At the same time he also thanked the SAPS for the work it is currently doing.

“There should also be a greater focus on the accountability of police officers in terms of command structures,” Wilken said. Johann Stadler, Chairman of the Free State Red Meat Producers Organization’s (RPO) Stock Theft Prevention Forum, echoed his sentiments by also highlighting several issues.

In an effort to address crime, Wilken and FSA, together with the RPO, held an important meeting on 16 September 2019 with senior management of the SAPS and NPA in the province. Issues such as high stock theft, problems at the border between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as staff shortages and resources at stock theft units were among those on the agenda.

SAPS addresses problems this way

FSA and the RPO told the parties involved that there was an increase in stock theft of up to 100% in certain areas. According to Wilken, the training of police officers at stock theft units, staff shortages at certain police stations, lack of service delivery and the shortage of resources such as vehicles at police stations were also discussed.

Lt. General. Moeketsi Sempe, Provincial Commissioner for the SAPS, said the SAPS takes note of the problems and that they strive to address them. Additional officers will, when they have completed their training, for example be placed at livestock theft units.

More additional vehicles will also be made available to help combat crime. This comes after roughly 50 vehicles were previously provided to rural police station coordinators.

Duty of farmers

Adv. Jacques Harrington on behalf of the NPA requested producers to make sure their animals were branded and that they get counted regularly. Cases occur where the SAPS informs producers that their livestock has been stolen and this complicates matters as farmers don’t know about their stolen animals quick enough.

Wilken said all the parties were requested to work together within the current framework to combat crime.

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