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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: ISS Today by Richard Chelin.]

Stock theft is on the rise in South Africa according the latest police statistics. The 29 672 cases recorded in the 2018-19 financial year represent a 2.9% increase from the previous 12-month period, a trend that has persisted since 2016-17. Livestock theft costs the country billions of rand each year, damages the local agricultural economy and negatively impacts food security.

Stock theft isn’t new in South Africa. What has changed is that the crime is now perpetrated by organised syndicates rather than just petty thieves. Willie Clack, a penologist at the University of South Africa, told the ENACT organised crime project that ‘87% of livestock theft involves some form of organised crime, while 13% is for survival.’

The modus operandi of stock thieves depends on whether the theft is for survival or re-sale. If for survival, only a few animals are stolen or slaughtered, with the thieves taking what they can carry and leaving the carcasses behind. Criminal syndicates plan their operations carefully, usually drawing on three to five individuals. A scout watches the movement of the livestock and alerts gang members who steal the animals and remove them using trucks.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
3.6% y/y in November 2019 (CPI) & +2.3 y/y in November 2019 (PPI)
-0.6% q/q (3rd quarter of 2019)
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