A newly formed police unit that fights stock theft has identified about eight hot spot areas where livestock theft is rife.
Bobirwa region has been described as the hottest spot of stock theft.
It is followed by Kgatleng, Kweneng, Tsabong, Mahalapye, Serowe, Tswapong and Maunatlala, which have also been described as areas of concern.
The commander of the newly formed stock theft unit, Assistant Police Commissioner, Joseph Motlhagodi, confirmed Bobirwa region as occupying the top spot.
He said the levels of stock theft in this country contributed to the decision by the Commissioner of Police to establish a specialized branch that will specifically investigate stock theft cases throughout the country.
“Apparently, stock theft criminals are now targeting calves that are being stolen in huge numbers, especially those not yet branded.” he said.
He said already the branch has about 300 officers, both men and women, who are deployed across the police stations in the country.
He said his officers need special training to deal with stock theft cases that are often complex.
Further plans are underway to benchmark, especially from countries that have long established stock theft units like South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania as well Brazil where they have lots of livestock.
Motlhagodi said last year alone over 2000 livestock was stolen which he said is a concern.
He further said another challenging factor is the disposal of stock theft cases from magistrates’ courts which take a long time, eventually resulting in the loss of evidence.
He added that stock theft courts that were once formed are very minimal and appealed to those who have livestock to insure that they brand them.
“We are aware that Bobirwa tops the list,” said Kgosi Mmirwa Malema of Bobonong.
Kgosi Malema said two Batswana were recently detained by the Zimbabwe Republic Police after they had crossed into Zimbabwe to take back their cattle that had been stolen from their kraals.
He said although both the police and members of the Botswana Defense Force have been deployed along the border to guard against any criminal activity along the two countries, stock theft cases still continue at an alarming rate.