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Traditional leaders tell Cele stock theft is a major problem in rural areas

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Stock theft was once again thrust into the spotlight during Police Minister Bheki Cele’s talks with traditional leaders.

Cele on Friday held a national dialogue with traditional leaders at Emperors Palace, where leaders told the minister about their biggest problems with crime in the rural areas.

Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole told the leaders about the traditional policing concept where members of the community played an active role in crime prevention.

Some traditional leaders took the stand to complain about stock theft and how they had been personally affected.

Kgosigadi Gaongalelwe Moroka, a pensioner and a traditional leader in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, said two years ago, in one night, 78 of her sheep were stolen and a few months later her cows were stolen too.

Moroka said she was tired of reporting these incidents to the police.

“I would like the minister to go and ask the police station in Thaba Nchu about all those cases. And when he’s there he must call me because I’ve reported this to every commissioner who comes, but nothing happens.”

But Sitole said they had a plan for bettering policing in the rural areas.

“People fear a horse more than they fear a car. In terms of the traditional policing concept, we are now introducing the community-based mounted units,” he said.

Sitole said as part of the traditional policing concept, revisiting cold cases would be prioritised.

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