Together Against Stock Theft

The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum requests that all role players in the red meat industry urgently play an active role in stock theft prevention and urge the general public for their assistance.

The National Crime Statistics made available by the South African Police Service on 24 October 2017 has reference. The livestock theft statistics were analysed by the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTPF) and the following information is of importance:

Nationally livestock theft cases have increased by 8.8%. Although one would consider the rise as dramatic, the reasons are not known. It may be due to a real increase or improved reporting of cases by victims. In Table 1 the increases within the different provinces are indicated varying from as high as 22.5% to as low as 1.8%.

Table 1: Livestock theft cases per province

Province 2015/16 2016/17 Increase/decrease Percentage
North West 2 605 3 192 587 22.5%
Mpumalanga 2 337 2 867 530 22.5%
Gauteng 818 987 169 20.7%
Limpopo 1 756 1 956 200 11.4%
Free State 3 466 3 677 21 6.1%
KwaZulu-Natal 5 731 5 959 228 4%
Eastern Cape 5 809 6 023 214 3.7%
Western Cape 861 885 24 2.8%
Northern Cape 1 132 1 356 24 1.8%
NATIONAL 24 715 26 902 2 187 8.8%

It is obvious from the figures in Table 1 that the provinces with the highest unacceptable increase are North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. All the other provinces are just above the national average or well below the national average.

Police stations with highest increases

The police stations with an increase of more than 50% are indicated in Table 2:

Table 2: Police stations with an increase more than 50%

Province Station Percentage increase
Mpumalanga KwaMhlanga 171.2%
North West Phokeng 149%
Mpumalanga Ermelo 107.9%
Free State Selosesha 78.5%
Mpumalanga Belfast 77.9%
KwaZulu-Natal Nongoma 73.1%
Limpopo Matlala 56.8%

Stations with most cases

Stations who registered more than 150 cases for the year 2016/17 are indicated in Table 3.

Table 3 Stations who registered more than 150 cases for the year 2016/17

Province Station Number of cases
Eastern Cape Sulenkama 231
Eastern Cape Bityi 214
Eastern Cape Qumbu 205
Eastern Cape Maluti 185
Eastern Cape Mthatha 179
Free State Harrysmith 175
Mpumalanga KwaMhlanga 160
KwaZulu-Natal Bergville 158
Mpumalanga Piet Retief 155

The five stations with the most cases reported are all within the Eastern Cape although the province only had an increase of 3.7%.  Note that the Eastern Cape has always had the most livestock theft cases normally, followed by KwaZulu-Natal. The only reason is that the most number of livestock are found in these provinces.

Non-reporting of livestock theft

Statistics South Africa reported in 2011 that 36.3% of stock theft cases were not reported by the victims, in 2012 this number rose to 40.1% and in 2013 it increased drastically to 63%. The 2014 victims of crime survey did not evaluate this phenomenon. However Lombaard (2014) found that 75% of sheep theft in the Free State Province is not reported. Currently these figures are even questioned as information from provinces indicate that the non-reporting is escalating at such a rate that it could currently be as high as 80% to 85% in certain districts.

Statistics South Africa confirmed in 2015 that the non-reporting rate has escalated to 67.7% and rose to 70.1% in 2016. The 2017 survey did not provide the non-reporting figures.

The fact that livestock theft increased by 8.8% is questioned, as the NSTPF does not know if more cases were reported and/or the reporting rate has improved.

With this information at hand and the festive season and the planting season ahead, the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum requests :-

  • That all livestock owners register a unique mark (brand or tattoo mark) in their name and apply it to all livestock in their possession in the prescribed manner as described in the Animal Identification Act, Act 6 of 2002.
  • The completion and submission of the ‘document of identification’ and ‘Stock Removal Certificate’ with all transactions.
  • That all livestock buyers, auctioneers, feedlots and abattoirs confirm livestock ownership and refuse to take ownership of livestock that are not marked or where the necessary document of identification and stock removal certificate are not supplied.
  • That all documents of identification be kept on record for 12 months.
  • That farmers count their livestock regularly and do not simply stop the practice during the planting season. When livestock is only counted after the planting period and losses discovered, it is simply too late.

– o O o –

22 November 2017


Mr Willie Clack                                                Mr Gerhard Schutte

Chairman : National                                       Chief Executive Officer

Stock Theft Prevention Forum                   RPO

Cell : 082 574 2653                                          Cell : 082 556 7296