Police chief Josef Shikongo warned on Tuesday that stock theft in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions was on the verge of getting out of hand, and that it was up to "us" to stop it.
A total of 750 cases of livestock theft were reported to the police between January and October this year, with the biggest chunk coming from Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.
According to statistics shared by Shikongo with farmers in the Omitara constituency during a meeting there on Tuesday, 451 animals were stolen in the Otjozondjupa and 225 in the Omaheke regions, while 74 incidents of livestock theft were reported in the Khomas region.
He did, however, say that this was a decrease from those recorded between January and December 2021, with Khomas (77), Omaheke (260) and Otjozondjupa (488) cases.
“The onus of curbing stock theft lies with all of us. We can do this by the marking and branding of livestock. However, it should be done in accordance with the Stock Brands Act because unbranded/unmarked livestock create loopholes to prove,” Shikongo told the farmers.
Addressing the region earlier this year, Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate said livestock worth over N$6 million were stolen from farms and villages across the region during the last financial year.
He noted that the region reported 321 stock theft cases, of which 520 were for large and 796 small stock, with a total value of N$6.1 million.
Fortunately, Nganate said, a total of 215 large livestock and 247 small livestock to the value of N$2.1 million were recovered.
Livestock theft is a serious problem in the Witvlei, Summerdown, Omitara and Steinhaussen areas, as well as in communal areas, particularly in Eiseb and Tallismanus.
“We plead with all peace-loving residents to cooperate with the directorate of veterinary service officials and the Namibian Police so that the culprits can be brought to justice,” Nganate told the region’s inhabitants at the time.
Similarly, Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua earlier this year said the regional leadership is working on strategies to tackle the rampant stock theft, which has seen farmers losing livestock valued at over N$600 000 during the first 19 days of January this year.
According to the latest statistics by the regional police at the time, 52 cattle and 62 small livestock worth over N$600 000 were stolen in Otjozondjupa during this period.
Of the 52 cattle stolen, 26 were recovered, while none of the 62 small livestock were recovered. The police said 14 suspects were arrested.
“Due to the nature of this topic, I cannot reveal specific programmes and interventions, as this would warn the perpetrators. However, since taking over as regional governor, my office has convened numerous decision-making engagements in this regard, which have been successful,” Uerikua said then.