Despite existing livestock tracking systems in place to identify ownership of stray animals in Botswana, the numbers of unclaimed livestock continue to rise unabated.
The Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS) whose objective is to establish an accessible farmer’s centric animal information and traceability system as a tool to facilitate animal and public health isn’t working.
Instead, councils such as the Southern and Central Districts seem all the more eager to generate revenue competing with cattle rustlers when the authorities know from their records who the owners of the domestic animals are.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, unashamedly, continues to register increased revenue collection from stray livestock (matimela) across districts surpassing P11 million, even though the primary purpose of matimela collection is not to raise funds but provide a service.
In the financial year 2018/19 7 275 stray animals (matimela) were collected by government notwithstanding systems in place.
Junior Minister Kgotla Autlwetse told Ntlo Ya Dikgosi recently that, “the amount spent on matimela during the financial year 2018/19 was P11, 618,815.93.
In the 2018/19 financial year, 4 704 matimela (stray animals) were auctioned and the amount raised from the sales was P4 302,280.15. The number claimed by owners was 2223 animals and P676,962.50 was raised from such claims.”
During the financial year 2017/18 matimela collected across the districts stood at 6 594 and in 2018/19 the number was 7 275. This therefore means there was an increase of 681 (10.3%) from previous year.
Pertaining to the high collection, Southern District Council had the highest number of Matimela having collected 3 500 animals, seconded by the Central District Council at 988.