In the past few years, the National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTF) confirmed that there was an increase in livestock theft over the festive and summer crop planting seasons.

Many factors contributed to this increase, such as the payment of bonuses, the amount of money available to purchase meat and meat products and the cultural habits of the South African population such as marriages and cultural rituals. In short, a lucrative market is established for criminals to sell stolen livestock to innocent people.

Significant decline in stock theft

During the 2019/20 festive season, the various provinces informed the NSTF of the number of cases of livestock theft. The astounding findings confirmed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) indicated that the number of livestock theft cases declined significantly compared to previous years. As no official statistics are available, the actual figures cannot be released but the decline is significant.

The decline can be attributed to a range of known variables. These variables include the fact that provinces prone to high livestock theft over the festive season held various special operations to reduce crime and the success is evident.

The current ban on livestock auctions closed a lucrative avenue for criminals to dispose of stolen livestock for the present, but it will not take long for the criminal elements to find alternatives. The limited movement of animals due to permit requirements also had a definitive effect. Thanks to the diligence of producers, Stock Theft Information Centres (STICs) were successfully established.

The NSTF wishes to thank all the role-players in the SAPS stock theft units and members of STICs for their efforts. Producers are also complimented for their contribution to ensuring a decline in the horrific crime.

Furthermore, auctioneers/livestock agents are urged to register with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC). This is a legal requirement and auctioneers/livestock agents must comply with the conditions stipulated in the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992). Producers are also requested to only deal with registered agents. Only by abiding by the law will we be even more successful. – Press release, National Stock Theft Prevention Forum

For more information, contact Willie Clack on 082 574 2653 or send an email to