New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Farmers Blamed Partly for Stock Theft

Article Views (non — Part of the blame for the ever-increasing instances of stock theft and the recent death of renowned stock theft investigator, Hiambepo 'Major' Kazeurua, in the Omaheke Region can be laid squarely before the door of many farm owners.

This was said by Nampol's commander in the Omaheke Region, Commissioner Josephat Abel, when he spoke to New Era yesterday. According to Abel, farm owners just hire anybody from the street without double-checking their backgrounds and credentials. He said that this is what constrains the police in doing their jobs as professionally and quickly as possible, because in most cases the farmers do not even know the correct names of the people they have hired.

According to Abel, most farmers, in an attempt to circumvent labour regulations, go for "cheap labour" and at the end pay dearly, some even with their lives.

In the case of the late Kazeurua, Abel said although the police were informed at a late hour that he was missing, they used their expertise and skills to trace him and to arrest the culprits as soon as they did.

He commended his officers for a job well done and confirmed that only two days after they made the first arrest, all fifteen head of cattle reported missing were recovered. He could however not divulge the location where the cattle were found, although it was within the boundaries of the region.

The first suspect who was arrested last Saturday in Windhoek had already confessed and the other two who were arrested on Monday and Tuesday respectively are set to appear today in the Gobabis Magistrate's Court.

According to Abel, the suspects could not appear yesterday, since the police still had to formulate the charges against the suspect arrested on Tuesday.

Abel heaped praise on his team for their outstanding performance in solving the hideous crime, but was also quick to point out that the police have a duty to protect suspects who are in their care, in accordance with the provision of the constitution that a person is deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

He however warned that people committing crimes in his backyard will meet the full force of his "very well organised and efficient" police force. According to Abel, stock theft is among the most common crimes in the Omaheke Region, followed by domestic violence and drug abuse.

He told New Era that while stock theft is rife, it is normally committed by locals and not people coming in from other regions or "foreigners". He said it is often the very same people entrusted with the care of the animals who are the ones who break the trust between employee and employer.

He urged farmers to assist the police to assist them, by hiring people they know in order to make it easier for the police to trace them should something happen. He emphasised that only with the assistance of employers could a lasting solution for stock theft be found.

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