Combating Stock Theft

Specific strategies to combat stock-theft in parts of the Eastern Cape and the Free State are already bearing fruit, according the commander of the SAPS’ stock theft unit, Col. Oosie Oosthuizen. While rhinos are being poached on almost a daily basis in South Africa, the South African Police Service declared stock-theft as a priority crime in the Eastern Cape and the Free State. We had a telephonic interview with Col Oosie Oosthuizen.

Stock theft

From Agri Wiki

This article was received directly from SAPS and is placed here without any changes.


To render exceptional service to all livestock owners by means of the combatting and successful investigation of stock theft.


It remains the responsibility of the reader to make absolutely sure that he/she does not transgress any law when implementing any of these hints.


Stock theft is a priority crime in most provinces of South Africa, except Gauteng. The loss of livestock not only has a negative impact on the economy at large, but is especially traumatic for the livestock-owners and presents a direct threat to their economic survival. Members of the SAPS are often asked by livestock-owners what they can do to prevent, or to help the SAPS to fight stock theft. Livestock-owners are generally more interested in practical hints that they can implement on their farms.

It was assumed that as agricultural conditions change across the country, so did stock theft modus operandi, and so would possible preventative measures towards the combatting of this crime also deviate. In one area of South Africa, one specific measure would work perfectly, but not necessarily in another. Circumstances that is applicable to one farm, is not necessarily applicable to the neighbouring farm. This, however, does not justify such a measure being excluded from a national list of preventative measures. A list of hints containing practical preventative measures that can be implemented by livestock-owners to curb stock theft on their property was compiled with the inputs received from all the Stock Theft Units.


I. Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No 6 of 2002)
II. Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959)
III. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No 108 of 1996)
IV. Human Rights Commission Act, 1994 (Act No 54 of 1994)
V. Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977)
VI. Private Security Industry Regulation Act (PSIRA), 2001 (Act No 56 of 2001)


1.1. In the planning of paddocks, the forming of corners next to roads should be avoided, as these are ideal for livestock to be driven into and for loading purposes.

1.2. Investigating officers sometimes waste too much time investigating stock theft cases involving animals which had merely strayed because of poor fencing.

1.3. Livestock-owners should keep all fences and gates in proper condition to protect their livestock. The employment of a specially trained employee can be considered for daily fence patrolling. He can see to it that holes in and under fences are repaired at once. Inspect these reparations yourself, or better, do it yourself. Regular patrols and inspections of fences show that the livestock-owners is in control of his/her livestock and his/her farm.

1.4. Although expensive, electrified fences and other electronic sensors and alarms can be very effective against stock theft.

1.5. Depending on its feasibility and local conditions, paddocks where problems are experienced, should be identified and the fencing be moved to a reasonable distance from the road. The land can also be considered for other uses, or narrow camps can be erected parallel to roads. These camps should be guarded during the day when livestock are grazing and if not removed during the night, be guarded at night as well.


2.1. It is suggested that no kraals should be erected in paddocks adjacent to public roads. Existing kraals can be demolished and erected away from the road and out of sight of the road.

2.2. Sheep can be kept in a kraal as close to the farmhouse as possible.

2.3. The tethering of guard dogs at kraals can be considered.

2.4. Dogs with good shepherds and guarding instincts can be brought up together with the small livestock, so that they get used to a herd and instinctively and without the encouragement of the owner will guard the herd.

2.5. At some places and under certain circumstances, goat bells are used to scare off potential pot-slaughterers. One can quickly hear when animals become restless, are being disturbed or chased.

2.6. Livestock-watering places close to public roads can be visited often, as livestock tend to congregate in such areas and may therefore be more vulnerable to stock-thieves there. Tracks of thieves are also likely to be trampled upon in such areas.

2.7. Livestock lying next to a fence or road should be moved a reasonable distance away in the late afternoon.

2.8. Lock all gates of paddocks next to roads, with proper chains and locks. Tight control should be maintained over keys in order to prevent theft or duplication. Labels identifying which locks they fit should not be attached to keys, but use code numbers instead. Chains should be welded to the straining-post. Gates are also often loosened at the hinges. To avoid this from happening, these should also be welded and regularly checked.

2.9. Prevent or eliminate \"shortcuts\" or footpaths across your property that strangers might use without your knowledge.

2.10. Sisal plants may have more uses than only serving as a drought crop. It can be planted in the corners of existing paddocks to discourage their use for cornering animals. They can also be planted in unwanted footpaths or next to fences adjacent to public roads.

2.11. Should your property adjoin a municipal area, it would be wise to remove livestock from the paddock on Friday’s, to another paddock further away. Livestock in these paddocks should preferably be kept in a kraal at night during the week.

2.12. Ordinary paraffin lamps can be placed in paddocks at night. It is important that this task be done by yourself, or the element of deterrence will be foiled. It should be kept in mind that employees talk amongst themselves and prospective stock thieves will soon realise that these lights are left unattended in the paddocks. The illumination of kraals always serves as a good deterrent.

2.13. Loading ramps in paddocks or on farms away from direct supervision should be kept locked or obstructed at all times.

2.14. Ostriches in paddocks have been known to be a very good deterrent against potential stock thieves. “Tame\" black wildebeest have also been known to scare off potential intruders.


3.1. If you consider buying an additional farm, remember, “absentee landlords gather no crops”. Rather try and buy close to your residential farm.

3.2. Prevent stolen animals from being hidden on your property. Stock-posts serve as ideal overnight stopovers to hide stolen livestock. Unknown livestock found at such posts should immediately be reported to the SAPS.

3.3. Employ a reliable shepherd on the post who can count the animals every morning. Missing livestock should be reported immediately.

3.4. Do not install a telephone in the shepherd house. Rather issue him with a two-way radio as means of communication with the livestock-owners.

3.5. This shepherd can skin all dead animals and salt and preserve the hide in order for the livestock-owners to see it for him-/herself and adjust his/her livestock register accordingly.

3.6.All gates leading to and from the stock post, can be kept locked.

3.7. The livestock-owner can personally take the shepherd (if he is a pensioner) every month to the place where his pension is paid out. Many pensioners have their own form of transport that can be utilised to convey carcasses. 3.8. Livestock at stock posts should be counted by the livestock-owner himself/herself, at least once a week.

3.9. If employees at stock posts possess their own animals, a good preventative measure against stock theft, (if involvement of employees is suspected) is to allow the animals to mix and graze together.


4.1. Many court cases are lost because of disputes regarding the proper identification of animals. If an animal is marked with a registered brand mark or tattoo, disputes will be avoided. Employees should also properly mark their livestock, according to the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No 6 of 2002), preferably by branding them. The numbers of livestock with different marks, on a given property, should be properly determined. Tattoo marks are preferred above ordinary earmarks and clippings. An effort should also be made to get to know the brand marks and tattoos of the animals of the neighbours. The Stock Theft Unit's work is impeded when livestock are marked by other methods, or not marked at all.

4.2. Livestock-owners should keep themselves well informed of the relevant provisions regarding the brand marking of livestock, attention must be given to the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No 6 of 2002), which must be read with the provisions of the Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959).

4.3. Where livestock are still being marked by way of traditional marks, in additional to the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No 6 of 2002), care should be taken that it be done clearly and described fully in the stock register. This will enable the SAPS to know what to look for in the event of stock theft.

4.4. When attending auctions, be on the look-out for livestock with your brandmarks and those of your neighbours.


5.1. The necessity of a thorough stock register cannot be emphasised enough. Commit to paper as much details as possible. Do not use cigarette boxes or little pocket books for this purpose. Keep the stock register up to date yourself and verify your totals regularly. This is also applicable to livestock kept by your employees. A thoroughly kept stock register will also serve to convince a magistrate that the livestock-owners is in control of his/her livestock, and knows what is happening on his/her farm.

5.2. The regular herding and counting of animals are of obvious importance. Also check up upon your employees' livestock. If it is not possible to count your livestock everyday, try counting your animals at least twice a week on irregular days. Avoid any routines, especially at stock posts, as your employees may be informers to stock thieves. Shortages and signs indicating possible thefts should immediately be reported. The livestock-owners himself must count the animals and he can not leave it to his/her employees to do the counting or to lodge any complaints.

5.3. Include newborns from birth in your totals in the stock register. If not, a cunning employee might gladly dispose of them without your knowledge. 5.4. When livestock are going to be counted, all the livestock in the various paddocks can be herded to various points, or to a single point. This is done to prevent livestock from being shifted between paddocks in order to conceal stolen or missing livestock.

5.5. Take into account the number of animals that have died of natural causes or have been caught by wild animals when counting your livestock.

5.6. Under no circumstances should meat of dead animals be given to employees. It often happens that animals are killed (suffocated) by employees to obtain such meat.

5.7. The livestock-owners should take into account all animals that are being slaughtered by him/her for his/her own use or for family and friends.

5.8. Livestock-owners do not have a complete description of missing livestock, and in such cases the SAPS is, as a result thereof, unable to circulate the livestock as stolen.


6.1. Keep yourself well informed of the statutory provisions regarding your powers and duties as a land and livestock-owner, and adhere to them. Stand by your rights as owner of your farm. It should be clearly understood that the statutory provisions relevant to livestock-farming are there for your protection and to your advantage, and that these provisions should also be adhered to by you.

6.2. It is important that you become acquainted with the entire Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959), especially Sections 6 and 8. The Stock Theft Act was promulgated at the request of livestock-owners, and should be adhered to by everyone. No one is above the law. If anyone transgresses the provisions of the Act, such person will be acted upon. You should therefore make sure that you do not accidentally transgress it yourself, or in your ignorance of the Act, strengthen the hands of the stock thieve.

6.3. Section 6 of the Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959) states that any person who sells, barters, gives or in any other manner disposes of any livestock to any other person shall at the same time of delivery to such other person of the livestock so sold or disposed of, furnish such other person with a \"Document of Identification\". Make sure that this document is completed correctly and that the animals really belong to the rightful owner. This document must be kept for a year as proof of ownership.

6.4. Close control and tight supervision should be kept when moving with, or transporting, animals. Section 8 of the Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959). states that no person shall drive, convey or transport any livestock or produce of which he is not the owner, on or along any public road, unless he/she has in his/her possession a \"Removal Certificate\".

6.5. Make sure that you get your Removal Certificates back from the person you have entrusted with the movement of your livestock. In the wrong hands these certificates can be convenient for \"legally\" stealing your livestock with your own vehicles.

6.6. Keep a proper file for all your Section 6 and 8 documents in terms of the Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959).

6.7. The utilisation of firearms set in the field, and other potentially dangerous booby-trap methods, are not recommended, and are illegal.

6.8. Selling livestock directly to the local community is not always a good idea. It opens avenues for stock-thieves to go and steal livestock from your property and when caught, produce a letter of sale that states that they had rightfully bought livestock from you.

6.9. According to Section 9 of the Stock Theft Act, 1959 (Act No 57 of 1959), whenever any owner, lessee or occupier of land, reasonably suspects that any person has in or under any receptacle or covering or in or upon any vehicle any livestock or produce in regard to which an offence has been committed, search without warrant, such receptacle or vehicle and remove such covering. If he thereupon finds that any livestock or produce in regard to which he reasonably suspects an offence to have been committed, he may arrest without warrant such person and seize such vehicle or receptacle and shall as soon as possible convey such person and the livestock or produce so found and the vehicle or receptacle so seized to a police station or community service centre. Make sure that you do not search or arrest someone wrongfully and maliciously or without probable cause. The wrongful execution of these actions is an illegal action that can expose you to possible civil claims. Such powers must be executed with great caution.

6.10. Livestock-owners should also become acquainted with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No 108 of 1996), Human Rights Commission Act, 1994 (Act No 54 of 1994) and the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977) when they intend arresting an alleged stock-thief themselves.

6.11. If a suspect is caught red-handed and he makes certain remarks to the owner of the stolen animals which bear down to a confession, it can be conveyed to the investigating officer. Take care not to transgress Section 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No 108 of 1996), and or Section 39 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977).

6.12. Do not assault the suspect. Any wrongful assault makes you susceptible for possible criminal prosecution. It only jeopardises the whole stock theft case.

6.13. In cases where livestock-owners or landowners are farming for a specific percentage, a written agreement between the two parties, must be drawn up through a registered lawyer or advocate.


7.1. Good neighbourly relations are encouraged. It is important that you look after your neighbours' interests as well.

7.2. Livestock-owners are encouraged to become involved, stay involved or encouraged to establish a Farm Watch System in their area. If such a system does not exist, one must preferably be established. It cannot be expected from the SAPS or Stock Theft Units to guard everyone's property and prevent stock theft. A Farm Watch does not only entail good communications, it also means regular physical after hours patrolling.

7.3. An effective communication system linking the farm to security forces and to neighbouring livestock-owners, as well as providing communications on the farm itself, is recommended. Livestock-owners are encouraged to purchase the Nearnet Radio System for this purpose. This system can be utilised to inform livestock-owners where and when stock theft is taking place. Livestock-owners can take cognisance of the fact that the SANDF is no longer responsible for operating and maintaining the Marnet Radio System. The Marnet Radio System has been replaced by the Nearnet Radio System. Livestock-owners can now enquire at their local District Council for the acquisition of Nearnet Radio Systems.

7.4. Under certain circumstances cell phones can be more effective than hand held radios. The reaching distance of cell phones can be widened, through fixed cellular subscriber units, which is available in the trade.

7.5. Livestock-owners in the De Aar Stock Theft Units' service area have been successful in requesting the authorities to close certain public roads altogether. By this the livestock-owners have better control over their areas and can identify suspect vehicles much easier.

7.6. Report unknown animals among your animals immediately to the SAPS and your neighbours.

7.7. Inform your local police when you will be absent from your farm for a day or longer, in order for the SAPS to visit your farm. Do take cognisance of the fact that the SAPS cannot guard your property 24 hours a day.

7.8. If your neighbour breaks the law, report him to the SAPS. You can rest assured that your anonymity will remain in tact if you so wish.

7.9. Every livestock-owner should become a member of his/her local Farming Association which can serve as a proper medium for communicating with other livestock-owners and the SAPS regarding stock theft.

7.10. An informer compensation fund can be created among livestock-owners for the compensation of employees who convey stock theft information, and to encourage them to be on the look-out for stock-thieves in the area.


8.1. Paddocks should be patrolled by the livestock-owner or a trustworthy employee over weekends. This serves as a deterrent for potential stock thieves and increases the chances of finding evidence at scenes of crime, before too much time has lapsed.

8.2. Be particularly watchful during full moon, weekends and at the end or beginning of a month, or during periods that you know from your own experience, when stock thefts (slaughtering for the pot) occur.

8.3. Drive night patrols if possible in your own area. Intentionally visible, night patrolling of paddocks will deter stock thieves.

8.4. Consider the erection of observation posts at strategic points in your area. These posts will be of great help to the SAPS when they conduct observations on your farm. Regularly conduct your own observations and waylays during the night. Consider acquiring your own night sight equipment for this purpose.

8.5. To track down stray animals in time, patrol all roads bordering your property as often as possible, especially where gates have been left open intentionally, accidentally or as a result of negligence.

8.6. Report unattended livestock found on public roads immediately to the nearest SAPS. 8.7. Guards can be appointed to guard and patrol kraals by night with torches, or preferably do it yourself. Take note of the provisions of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act (PSIRA), 2001 (Act No 56 of 2001), that if an employees main tasks are to guard duty - such employee must be registered according to the PSIRA.


9.1. When considering applicants for employment, enquiries should be made at previous employers to establish the real reason why an employee had left his previous work. Enquiries should also be lodged at the SAPS to determine whether the applicant has a criminal record. Establish what kind of criminal record the applicant has, because it could be a murderer or rapist.

9.2. Bushmen/San/Khoi are very successfully employed by some livestock-owners as shepherds and farm security guards.

9.3. Livestock-owners are encouraged to employ shepherds who are not only reliable, but are also at least able to count. Do not become over-confident with your shepherd's mathematical abilities, and be aware of wrong totals given to you deliberately. Make sure about the totals yourself.

9.4. Livestock-owners are encouraged to keep a name list detailing every worker and all other people staying on his/her property. Particulars of relatives on other farms or in towns should also be kept. As much detail as possible should be taken down (ID No, name, surname, previous work address, address of next of kin, and a photograph, etc). Encourage or help all your employees to obtain an Identity Document. A photostat of the ID book will be invaluable for you and the SAPS.

9.5. Keep yourself up to date of all activities at your employees' dwellings and on neighbouring farms like beer parties, marriage rituals, etc. It could be vital information for the SAPS.

9.6. Livestock-owners are encouraged to supply all information or rumours pertaining to stock theft on their farms and in the district to the SAPS.

9.7. Some livestock-owners leave their farms unattended for too long without any reliable and responsible people living thereon, or leave too much of their everyday tasks in the hands of their employees. Farm owners that do not work permanently on the farm, but work elsewhere, usually follows clear travel routes, which makes their property and livestock very vulnerable during their absence.

9.8. Farm cemeteries have on occasions been used in the past for the burial of hides of stolen livestock, even from other farms.

9.9. Some livestock-owners pay their employees minimum wages which, in turn, are often tempted to slaughter for the pot for survival or become involved in stock theft syndicates.


10.1. Under certain circumstances where employees are allowed to keep some livestock, the temptation to slaughter for the pot or steal, might wear off.

10.2. Refrain from permitting your employees to keep livestock belonging to family or friends on your farm.

10.3. It might also help to regularly supply your employees with sufficient provisions of fresh meat. Do not give them a carcass. Cut it up for them, as some employees tend to slaughter additional animals for the pot as soon as they have received their ration of meat from their employer.

10.4. Assist your employees to obtain the highest prices for their livestock and, if possible, advise them to refrain from selling to livestock speculators directly or out of hand.

10.5. Allegations by employees of animals that have died in the veld, can be followed up and verified. Such carcasses can be removed from the veld and burnt.

10.6. Cases are known that slaughterers for the pot make use of bicycles to transport meat from the crime scene to the distribution points. Look carefully at the trunks or other packages on the rack of the bicycle.


11.1. Employees should be involved in the management of farms by way of participative management techniques. Employees should be given joint responsibilities in order to make them feel part of the farm and its management as a business, eg give every worker a herd of livestock to look after and control. By this way a dishonest shepherd can be identified, or he will bring out the thieves that steal his/her livestock.

11.2. Own discretion should be used in involving employees in efforts to prevent stock theft. Involvement may lead to a growing sense of responsibility among employees and increase trust between employers and employees.

11.3. An informer network should be created among employees, as employees would much rather inform their employer whom they know than unknown police officials. Inform your workers how the Informer System of the SAPS works and that they can be paid for information.

11.4. Your employees should be duly compensated for information regarding irregularities disclosed by them. Consider introducing a bonus system into your employees’ salaries - give them a bonus when no livestock has been stolen for an established period. Livestock may also be given to employees as compensation.


12.1. Employees should be trained to pay attention to irregularities. Ask your employees to watch what they say about activities on the farm in the presence of strangers. Careless talk can lead to livestock losses.

12.2. Be prepared for crime generally and take cognisance of suspect vehicles making use of farm roads or even camping in the area, and suspicious persons strolling about. Note down their actions and registration numbers and notify your neighbours and the SAPS.

12.3. Report immediately to your Stock Theft Unit when animal speculators and hide and bone buyers are active in your area, or when livestock dealers from neighbouring countries are active in your area. Keep a proper record of all prospective livestock buyers as soon as you enter negotiations.

12.4. Do not allow loitering on the farm or any idle and unemployed people to settle on your property. Strangers entering the farm or visiting labourers should first obtain your permission. Implement a visitors control system, wherein all the particulars of visitors to the farm are noted, whom they are visiting and when they are leaving.

12.5. Be on the constant look-out for evidence of the presence of intruders, eg. restlessness in animals, game and even poultry, empty bottles or tins, cartridge cases, paper remnants, torn off buttons, torn off material, foot or shoe prints, burnt out fires at apparent camping sites, water holes and river beds, remnants of meals, cigarette butts, empty boxes, excrement, string, etc.


13.1. Illegal immigrants should under no circumstances be employed.

13.2. Livestock-owners along the border of neighbouring countries are especially warned against the employment of such citizens. One can never tell if they convey any information about you and your farm, to people/stock-thieves on either side of the border, or are involved in stock theft themselves.

13.3. Prevent, if possible, the visiting of illegal guests from neighbouring countries to your employees. Utilise your visitor control book if you cannot prevent such visits.

13.4. Border livestock-owners should preferably count their livestock everyday themselves.

13.5. The SAPS often discovers unknown stolen RSA livestock in the neighbouring country and as no case has been opened, the livestock are impounded in that country. It has also happened that livestock-owners, when after quite some time has lapsed, suddenly opens a case and then claims that the livestock were stolen the previous night. This boils down to a false statement and not only indicates poor farm management, but also jeopardises your case (perjury) and delays the impounded livestock from being returned.

13.6. Border livestock-owners are kindly requested to give their co-operation when the SAPS has cross-border operations or visit pounds in neighbouring countries. Join them yourself, or send your shepherd on these official excursions to help the SAPS in the identification of livestock. Livestock-owners should not go into the neighbouring country armed and alone and play stock theft investigator. This is not only illegal, but outright dangerous. Page 14 13.7. It often happens that border livestock-owners become involved with illegal trade with citizens of neighbouring countries in some or other way like the renting of grazing pastures, etc. There are legal steps that must be taken in this regard, but if not taken, such actions can create the ideal climate for other crimes and stock theft.

13.8. Care should also be taken not to damage relations with citizens of neighbouring countries unnecessarily. It can lead to the targeting of yourself and/or your property by criminals.

13.9. Do give your co-operation when the authorities of the neighbouring countries request it from you, for example in cases where your stolen livestock were discovered in a neighbouring country and handed over to you for safe-keeping until the case has been completed. You are not allowed to dispose of the livestock until the case has been concluded or you have been informed otherwise before then. This is because the livestock might be needed as evidence during the court proceedings. Premature disposing of such livestock has led to future unwillingness by the police in neighbouring countries to hand over recovered stolen livestock to such unco-operative livestock-owners, until the court case has been concluded or the court decided what should happen with the animals.


14.1. Scenes of crime should be secured. Refrain from disturbing or removing anything from the scene of crime or from trying to investigate crimes by yourself. Important evidence could in this way be destroyed.

14.2. When livestock had been stolen out of a kraal, the remaining livestock can stay in the kraal until the Stock Theft Unit has arrived and started investigations. Important clues such as tracks and marks are destroyed as soon as the animals leave the kraal.

14.3. Tracks found at the scene of crime and which could be relevant to the case at hand, have to be protected from rain, wind, animals and people. Tracks can be protected with, for example, a cut open drum, but care should be taken not to disturb or destroy the track. Tracks should not be followed by livestock-owners, but rather be left to a police dog. Employees should also not be sent to look for tracks.

14.4. Cut fences should not be repaired before wire samples have been taken. Chains and locks which have been cut should also remain in safe-keeping.

14.5. Slaughtered carcases should not be removed before meat samples have been taken and the scene photographed.

14.6. If you do find clothing material that could have been left by the thief, it should not be touched and left as it is.

14.7. Unknown objects, for example broken lights or rails of vehicles which is found on a crime scene, must not be touched or moved from the scene, until these objects were shown to the investigating officer. The Forensic Laboratory of the SAPS can here be used with great success, especially with regard to the physical matching and fitting, of evidence which is found on scenes or found in possession of criminals.

14.8. Make a habit of not just looking, but also noting all details of what you, as a livestock-owner, saw on the scene of crime and convey it to the investigating officer. Study and record the various techniques employed by stock-thieves on a given property. (Make use of this information in the planning of your own patrols). Do not hesitate or fear to disclose any of your information to the Stock Theft Unit, even if you might think that it is unimportant.

14.9. When livestock-owners report a stock theft case, a reference number must be obtained from the SAPS, for future references and to clear up any misunderstanding.


15.1. Livestock-owners should at all times report all livestock theft cases on their property immediately. The longer the delay, the less the possibility of achieving success.

15.2. In the event of animals being recovered by yourself that were reported to the SAPS to have been stolen, the investigating officer or Stock Theft Unit should be informed immediately.

15.3. Do not report false stock theft cases to the SAPS for the sake of conning insurance or the tax man. Valuable time is being wasted on such cases that could have been spent on true stock theft cases.

15.4. It often happens that stock theft cases have to be withdrawn due to a lack of interest or reluctance shown by some complainants to attend court proceedings. Show interest in solved cases and attend court cases until the end.

15.5. Work with the local SAPS and Stock Theft Unit, and not against them. Support the SAPS and Stock Theft Units in their efforts to help you.


16.1. The following incidents are some of the signs that indicate farm attacks for which you should be on the look out to protect yourself and your loved ones:

16.1.1. unknown persons roaming in the area;

16.1.2. unknown vehicles, tracks or camping activities in the area;

16.1.3. changes in the normal behaviour of the employees;

16.1.4. unexplainable death of guard dogs;

16.1.5. theft of food, fuel, livestock or game; and

16.1.6. unknown persons that are visiting your property with apparent good explanations.

16.2. The following good habits can enhance the security on our farms even further:

16.2.1. keep good control over visitors and supply all the visitors/guest a document which indicate the period of time that they are allowed to visit there;

16.2.2. keep good relationships with employees and place copies of their identity documents on file;

16.2.3. to keep a family photo of your employees is also a good idea;

16.2.4. reward employees for useful hints and information;

16.2.5. do not open any gates or doors if prospective visitors did not identify themselves properly;

16.2.6. keep all implements and tools, that could be used as weapons, in safe places;

16.2.7. remove all keys out of vehicles when it is not in use;

16.2.8. make sure that family members inform each other regarding their movements, times of arrival and departure as well as their routes;

16.2.9. test your communication systems for example the telephone, two way radio and cell phone on a regular basis;

16.2.10. keep good control over keys and the make of duplicate keys;

16.2.11. always keep a flash light in good working condition, within reach;

16.2.12. take precautionary measures to prevent the theft of fuel, vehicles and supplies;

16.2.13. change daily routines; and

16.2.14. make it a habit not to go to bed as soon as all lights are switched off.


It is of fundamental importance that a healthy relationship exists between the livestock-owners and the SAPS. From the SAPS it is expected to render a professional service to the livestock-owners and to help him/her continue with his/her farming enterprise. The SAPS, on the other hand, expects of the livestock-owner to do his/her part in the prevention of stock theft on his/her farm alone and in co-operation with the SAPS, and not to place this responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the SAPS.

Problems that livestock-owners experience, as well as criticism against the SAPS or their conduct, can be brought under the attention of their local Station Commissioner. In the event of a matter, not having successfully been resolved there, it should be taken up with the office of the Provincial Commissioner. Through these channels, misconceptions will be avoided before wrong perceptions are spread or accepted. It is not necessary to wait for Agricultural Congresses and meetings alike to fan criticism against the SAPS.

All that will happen to your complaint is that it will be referred to your local SAPS or Stock Theft Unit for attention. If you do have criticism, make sure that your hands are clean. We should rather keep to constructive criticism.

Communication between the livestock-owners and the SAPS is sometimes not up to standard and there is room for improvement. Information and ideas to address crime successfully, can be shared with each other.

Stock Theft Information Centres (STIC) are also established in various areas and serve as a forum between the local livestock-owners, Stock Theft Units, as well as the interested organisations, and can be incorporated into the existing local agricultural structures. The STIC gives the livestock-owners the opportunity to contribute in a positive manner to the effective policing of stock theft.

A Provincial Stock Theft Forum has been established in every province to address all provincial matters regarding stock theft, which cannot be solved on local level. Livestock-owners which encounters problems regarding the investigation of stock theft cases, can bring it to the attention of the Provincial Stock Theft Forum. If the Provincial Stock Theft Forum is unable to solve the problem it will be referred to the National Stock Theft Forum.

Livestock-owners should not hesitate to visit or contact their local Station Commissioner or Stock Theft Unit. If sound report and communication channels exist, joint strategies can be planned that will result in greater successes. The SAPS will welcome more initiative and involvement from the livestock-owners and is more than prepared to do its share to assist the livestock-owners. Only the stock-thief will benefit if the relationship between the livestock-owners and the SAPS is poor.

It is a proven fact that where co-operation between the livestock-owners and the SAPS is such that a formidable team is formed against stock theft, the rewards are favourable when it comes to the prevention and combating of this crime.

For all cases of Stock Theft contact your nearest Police Station immediately.