[:en]The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTPF) has taken notice of the fact that 10 suspects were arrested on Wednesday 28 October 2015, for murder, two counts of attempted murder and kidnapping and appeared in the Vryburg magistrates court today. This comes after a farm owner, his wife, his friends and four farm workers at Soutpanfontein near Stella allegedly assaulted three men with knobkerries and pouring them with hot water over their bodies on Tuesday, 27 October 2015. The workers of the farm owner allegedly accosted the three victims while they walking in the veld and accused them of stock theft. The victims were then allegedly dragged to the farm house.

The NSTPF by no means condone the act of the farmer and co-accused – however is has come to knowledge that the farmer bought the land about 6 months ago through a government loan.

Since occupation of the land the farmer has been the constant victim of livestock theft to such an extent to acknowledge to fellow farmers that bankruptcy is evident. Furthermore, that no joy was received from the criminal justice system in assisting to combat the crimes.

The NSTPF is on a daily basis dealing with complaints of livestock owners about the fact that the necessary attention to the problem of livestock is not received from the criminal justice system. At first, in most cases the culprits are known to the victims and although information is tendered to crime intelligence, very few arrests are made and the offenders are roaming freely in society. Secondly, despite the fact that the offenders are known recidivists, there is no serious attempt from the criminal justice system to oppose any bail, therefore the offenders simply roam free and recommit livestock theft. Thirdly the offenders do know how to abuse the system through their legal representative with the result that cases are postponed to such an extent that producers and witnesses give up and looses total trust in the criminal justice system. All these problems create a frustrated farming community.

This frustration of the community becomes evident as in South Africa, it is a trait that a large number of economic crimes are never reported to the authorities and livestock theft is not an exception. This incident is a clear indication of the frustrations experienced by both emergent producers as well as commercial producers with stock theft.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported in 2011 that 36.3% of stock theft cases was not reported by the victims and in 2012 this number increased to 40.1% and in 2013 it increased drastically to 63%. Lombaard (2014) in his research project on stock theft, found that 75% of sheep theft in the Free State Province, is not reported.

According to Stats SA, the non-reporting of stock theft cases by livestock owners can be attributed to various reasons. Firstly, 31.8% of livestock theft cases are not reported due to a lack to trust in the capability of the SAPS to recover the stolen stock and/or to prosecute the case successfully.

This perception of livestock owners is understandable as only 4% of victims are informed that an arrest has been made or that stolen livestock have been recovered. Secondly, 30.2% of livestock owners’ believe that it is not an important enough crime to report to the authorities. This may be true of small livestock such as chickens, but not of larger livestock with a high monetary value. Thirdly, 11.8% of the victims of livestock theft use other methods to resolve the crimes, such as to report it to local authorities or neighbourhood watch. In poorer rural communities, this has a high prevalence as there is still a high sense of community justice. Fourthly, in 8.8% of the cases the SAPS was not available or reachable

The vigilante approach of the farmer, wife and workers is the result of a criminal justice system that fails society and a true reflection of the words of Thomas Jefferson “if injustice becomes the rule of law, resistance becomes a responsibility”.
[:za]Die Nasionale Veediefstal Voorkomingsforum het kennis geneem van die 10 verdagtes wat op Woensdag, 28 Oktober 2015 in hegtenis geneem is op twee aanklagte van poging tot moord en ontvoering en wat vandag in die Vryburg Landdroshof, verskyn het. Dit het gekom nadat ‘n grondeienaar, sy vrou, vriende en vier plaaswerkers van die plaas Soutpanfontein naby Stella, na bewering drie mans op Dinsdag, 27 Oktober 2017, met knopkieries aangerand het en kookwater oor hulle uitgegooi het. Die plaaswerkers het na bewering die drie slagoffers in die veld voorgekeur en hulle van veediefstal beskuldig waarna hulle die slagoffers na bewering na die plaashuis gesleep het.

Die Veediefstal Voorkomingsforum kondoneer geensins die optrede van die grondeienaar en sy medepligtiges nie, maar dit het duidelik geword dat die betrokke grondeienaar die plaas ongeveer 6 maand gekoop het by wyse van ‘n regeringslening. Sedert die grondeienaar die plaas in besit geneem het, het hy gereeld deurgeloop onder veediefstalle, in so mate dat hy al per geleentheid beken het dat hy bankkroptskap in die gesig staar. Verder word geen bystand verkry van die kriminele regstelsel om misdaad te bestry nie.

Die Veediefstal Voorkomingsforum hanteer op ‘n daaglikse basis klagtes van vee-eienaars oor die feit dat veediefstal nie die nodige aandag geniet van die kriminele regstelsel nie. In die meeste gevalle is die verdagtes bekend aan vee-eienaars en alhoewel vee-eienaars die inligting rapporteer aan misdaad intelligensie, word weinig arrestasies uitgevoer wat daartoe lei dat die verdagtes dus vrylik rondloop binne die gemeenskap. Tweedens, alhoewel die oortreders bekende verdagtes is, word geen poging aangewend deur die kriminele regstelsel om borgtog te opponeer nie wat daartoe aanleiding gee dat die verdagtes vry rondbeweeg en hulle hulself weer eens wend tot veediefstal. Derdens weet die oortreders hoe om die regstelsel te misbruik deur hulle regsverteenwoordigers, met die gevolg dat sake uitgestel word tot so mate dat vee-eienaars en ooggetuies moedverloor en hul vertroue in die kriminele regstelsel verloor. Al hierdie faktore dra daartoe by dat die boedery-gemeenskap gefrusteerd raak.

Die frustrasies in die gemeenskap is duidelik in dié sin deurdat daar in Suid-Afrika ‘n groot aantal ekonomiese misdade is wat nooit gerapporteer word nie – veediefstal is geen uitsondering nie. Die Stella-voorval is ‘n aanduiding van die frustrasies wat ondervind word met veediefstal deur beide opkomende produsente, sowel as kommersiële produsente.

Statistiek Suid-Afrika (Stats SA) se verslag van 2011 het daarop gedui dat 36.3% van veediefstalsake nie gerapporteer is nie. In 2012 het die syfer toegeneem tot 40.1% en in 2013 het dit drasties ge-eskaleer tot 63%. Lombard (2014) het in sy navorsingsprojek op veediefstal, bevind dat 75% van skaapdiefstal in die Vrystaat Provinsie, nie aangemeld word nie.

Volgens Stats SA word die nie-aanmelding van veediefstalsake deur vee-eienaars toegeskryf aan verskeie faktore. Eerstens word 31.8% van veediefstalsake nie aangemeld nie aangesien vee-eienaars geen vertroue het in die bevoegdheid van die SAPD om gesteelde vee terug te vind nie of om veediefstalsake suksesvol te vervolg nie.

Hierdie persepsie van vee-eienaars is verstaanbaar, aangesien slegs 4% van slagofers ingelig word dat enige arrestasies uitgevoer is of dat gesteelde vee, teruggevind is. Tweedens is 30.2% van vee-eienaars van mening dat veediefstal nie ‘n “belangrike genoeg” misdaad is om aan owerhede te rapporteer nie. Dit mag wel die geval wees by kleiner lewendehawe soos hoenders, maar dit is geensins die geval by groot lewendehawe wat ‘n hoë monitêre waarde het nie. Derdens, 11.8% van slagoffers van veediefstal, maak gebruik van alternatiewe metodes om veediestal op te los, deur dit byvoorbeeld te rapporteer aan plaaslike owerhede of buurtwagte. In armer landelike gemeenskappe, kom dit dikwels voor aangesien dié gemeenskappe steeds ‘n hoë sin vir gemeenskapsverantwoordelikheid handhaaf. Vierdens was die SAPD slegs in 8.8% van die sake, bereikbaar.

Die vigilante optrede van die vee-eienaar, sy vrou en werkers is die gevolg van ‘n kriminele regstelsel wat die gemeenskap gefaal het en dit word gereflekteer in die woord van Thomas Jeffrson “if injustice becomes the rule of law, resistance becomes a responsibility”.
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