Farmers on Lesotho border devastated by stock theft

Sizwe Sibiya

While South Africans are worried about Shepherd Bushiri slipping over the border, KZN farmers near the Lesotho border are devastated about their flock being stolen by shepherds from over the border.

The affected farmers are from Bulwer, Himeville and Underberg about 40 kilometres from the Sani Pass border near the Drakensberg. 

Raymond Langa, a farmer from the eMakhuzeni area told Scrolla.Africa that cows and other animals get stolen all the time from locals and get transported over the border.

“Stock theft is a very serious problem for people living in the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Municipality,” he said.

“People come here looking for work and they come here illegally without passports or permits. And when they leave, they leave with local livestock,” said Raymond. He had 16 cows stolen last year.

He said if cows cross the border it is nearly impossible to get them back and to catch the thieves while they are still transporting the animals over the mountains to Lesotho is very difficult.

“We think these people are not working alone. There are locals who help thieves commit the crimes. The cows are not transported during the day. They are transported at night when there is a fog or when it’s raining or very cold,” said Raymond.

He said sometimes they slaughter the animals.

“All you find is the head and the skeleton.”

NDZ Municipal Manager Nkosiyezwe Vezi said the border issue is a national problem but they have plans to fight the issue of illegal immigrants invading the municipality. 

Vezi said they already have members of the SANDF and task teams patrolling the border but because the animals are stolen in extreme weather conditions they have not been very successful in catching stock thieves.