This, after Bethlehem police recovered stolen cattle and sheep in the Clarens, Rosendal, and Bethlehem areas in the last few days. According to police spokesperson Brigadier Sam Makhele livestock to the value of R200 000 was stolen in the Eastern parts of the province just this week. Makhele says a 35-year-old man was arrested and four head of cattle qith an estimated value of R60 000 was recovered in Bethlehem on Wednesday after Bethlehem Crime Intelligence, Visible Policing, and the Fouriesburg Stock Theft Unit reacted to information about suspicious cattle. In another incident, on Thursday, in Paul Roux, 45 sheep estimated to cost R135 000 were found hidden inside a disused building at a nearby farm. According to Makhele the animals had been stolen the previous night in Rosendal. Members of Fouriesburg Stock Theft Unit had followed tracks from the Rosendal farm. Also on Thursday, police in Bethlehem, Visible Policing, and the K9 Unit recovered another 13 sheep at an open space near Bethlehem. Several suspects are expected to appear in court soon. Makhele urged farmers to be vigilant this time of the season and says police would be doubling their efforts to fight the ever increasing livestock theft.
In a bid to make sure the safety of farmers across the province is guaranteed, Free State Agriculture (FSA) received a whopping R755 000 from VKB for their Safety Desk. According to Gerhard Kriel, Chief Executive Officer of FSA, VKB, who are this year celebrating their centenary, have since yesterday raised R145 000 more than last year with their VKB Farm Safety Golf Day to support producers. A total of 39 teams participated in the golf day and competed for prizes worth around R90 000. According to Dr Jane Buys, Safety and Risk Analyst of FSA, the VKB FSA Safety Desk has a dual purpose. She says their primary objective is to empower and expand internal security structures at ground level to address crime as well as safety prevention.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, is encouraging the South African public to rally behind the small-scale fisheries sector and support the initiative of ABALOBI. The ABALOBI app initiative is directly in line with the current establishment of the small-scale fisheries sector with about 11 000 small-scale fishers from the four coastal provinces of the country set to benefit enormously. Zokwana says it is important for his department to fully partner with the ABALOBI PBO and use the ABALOBI innovation as an integral part in developing and supporting small-scale fishers of South Africa and further influence small-scale fishers beyond the boundaries of South Africa. The minister adds that with the 4th Industrial Revolution, technology is taking over to make life easier and digital platforms must be embraced by the government. He says the department will soon be signing yet another strategic partnership agreement with ABALOBI PBO for rolling out ABALOBI throughout the small-scale fishing sector. He went on to say they have started to introduce small-scale fisheries in coastal provinces which will see massive job creation while at the same time building six new economic players within the fisheries sector. He concluded by saying as the department they will continue to drive transformation and diversification within the sector bringing those who were previously disadvantaged as critical players, and significantly cut out middlemen in order to have a fair price for fish sold by small-scale fishers.
OFM News/Michael Thlakudi