A recent police-led and driven operation showed another important facet of South Africa’s national border protection effort – livestock recovery and confiscation.
The operation to combat cross-border and transnational crimes between Lesotho and South Africa saw more than 200 head of livestock – cattle and goats – seized, Johannesburg daily The Citizen reports.
The paper quotes SA Police Service (SAPS) spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane as saying: “Various operations, including road blocks, stop and searches as well as visits to livestock pounds, kraals, butcheries and abattoirs were conducted. Livestock owners formed part of the operation to identify stolen livestock”.
The two day operation saw drugs including whoonga, tik and dagga confiscated. Dangerous weapons and expired goods were also seized.
“Twenty-five suspects were arrested for crimes including illegal immigration, selling liquor without a licence, assault and cases related to domestic violence. Nine people were charged for failing to brand-mark livestock and 88 traffic fines were issued,” Zwane said.
SA Army soldiers deployed as part of Operation Corona, the national border protection tasking, regularly intercept cattle herders and shepherds, particularly on the Lesotho/South Africa border. In some instances they are driving stolen livestock across the almost non-existent border fence while others move animals into South Africa for apparently better grazing.
In the May/June period soldiers recovered livestock comprising cattle, sheep, goats and small stock such as chicken on the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provincial borders.
Addressing media earlier this month, SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam said more than two thousand one hundred head of livestock was recovered by soldiers between October and July.