A Matobo farmer reportedly lost 48 head of cattle worth about US$33 000 to rustlers.
Ndodana Ngwenya, a livestock farmer in Nathisa, Matobo, was left counting his losses when rustlers invaded his farm, last week and drove away 53 head of cattle.
Five of the cows were later discovered.
Narrating his ordeal to CITE, Ngwenya said he dipped his cattle on Monday last week and after that he moved them to the paddocks.
The incident was only discovered on Friday when his herd boys went to collect the cattle from the paddocks and discovered that a significant number of the beasts had gone missing.
Ngwenya said he immediately alerted his neighbours and later made a police report.
“When I alerted some of my neighbours, they told me that they had seen some people driving the cattle in the direction of Gwanda. I made a police report on Friday evening and they only responded on Saturday morning,” said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya said he also dispatched a search party to check with local cattle abattoirs while he and some police officers followed a trail until it came to a dead-end where he believes the cattle were loaded into a truck and driven away.
A permit authorising the movement of the cattle out of the area was processed by a police officer based at Collen Bawn and 18 of the cattle were later discovered slaughtered at an abattoir in Umguza.
“I then got a call from a business associate informing me that he had managed to identify some of the cattle at an abattoir in Umguza. Some of them had already been slaughtered but he managed to identify our branding from the hides,” he narrated.
Investigations at the abattoir yielded positive results as they managed to identify some of the people allegedly involved in the theft.
“We managed to track down the driver of the truck that had delivered the cattle to the abattoir and he admitted that he was following his employer`s orders. We took him to the police and also tracked down the truck owner who said he had been hired to ferry the cattle to the abattoir,” Ngwenya said.
The businessman expressed concern that he was not getting much help from the police, although some of those allegedly part of the syndicate had been identified.
Below is the full interview with Ngwenya:
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele told CITE in an interview that investigations were still underway.
“We did receive the report of the incident and investigations are underway. So far the only recovery that has been made is that of carcasses and hidesof the 15 beasts that were recovered at Umguza Abbatoir,” said Chief Insp Ndebele.