Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani has asked the Inspector General of the Namibian police Joseph Shikongo to install CCTV cameras at major road points to curb stock theft crimes in the country.
Venaani stressed that the crime of stock theft is escalating, disturbing and destructive, affecting all sectors of the farming community. According to him, it is concerning that there have been reported instances where the very police officers whose mandate it is to protect farmers and ordinary citizens from all forms of theft, find themselves complicit in the act.
“Several police officers have over the years aided suspects in carrying out the crime of stock theft. In fact, I have fallen victim to the theft of 80 heads of cattle. To date, no one was apprehended, even though the individual involved was subsequently released with no valid reason. One can therefore appreciate why the citizenry tends to lose faith in the ability of the police to adequately deal with this scourge,” he said.
The leader added that in an effort to curb the alarming rates of stock theft and cattle raiding, particularly in rural areas, “I impress upon you to take the necessary action, such as the installation of CCTV cameras at major road points to deter the transportation of livestock, whilst also ensuring that the necessary resources are deployed in the fight against stock theft by addressing inoperable vehicle, understaffed police stations and a lack of uniform, identification and firearms in some instances”.
He has also asked Shikongo to regain citizens’ faith and recapture the organisational integrity of the Namibian police force by rooting out and taking the necessary disciplinary action against police officers who are party to these and various other crimes.
Venaani noted that this is essential to maintaining public order and the rule of law, “to support the legitimacy of the state and to maintain or restore the public’s trust in processes and institutions. Inspector-General Shikongo, kindly receive the assurances of my highest esteem.”
He also mentioned that in a study conducted by Mbai, Uchezuba & Laubscher (2015) in the “Economic Impact of livestock theft & game and HWC” on communal farms in Namibia, the estimated direct cost of theft was N$4 million and predation was N$6 million, however the inclusion of the cost of theft and predation control measures can raise the figure significantly.
The report further reveals that the total value of livestock stolen from the eight regions wherein the study was conducted, amounts to N$ 16,197,125.94, for 2021 while the cost of theft control measures for the same year amounts to N$ 12,233,812.00. Moreover, the estimated cost of infrastructure/farm property stolen amounts to over N$ 9 million.
According to the report, the direct cost of theft and predation was N$14 715 453.94 and N$22 540 145.05 for 2021. Organisation
“Khomas (22.2 percent), Omaheke (17.3 percent), Hardap (15.7 percent) and Otjozondjupa (8.4 percent) regions account for the most livestock theft cases in the country. Against this background, Inspector-General, one is able to conclude that stock theft not only destroys high potential genetic material, but also threatens the country’s food security, making its red meat industry internationally uncompetitive, and negatively impacting the wool industry.”