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An acting police station commander and his accomplice, a previously convicted stock thief, appeared in Frankfort court on 24 March on charges of stock theft. The men were caught red-handed on Monday, 22 March stealing five sheep on the farm of Danie Muller.
Deon van der Watt, regional representative of Free State Agriculture (FSA) and farmer in the Tweeling / Frankfort area, confirmed that about 65 farmers from the area met outside the court on 24 March where the two men appeared on charges of stock theft. According to Van der Watt, the farmers informed the public prosecutor before the court proceedings that they would attend the bail proceedings.
Dr Jane Buys, Safety Risk Analyst at FSA, says that stock theft and police corruption are a significant problem in agriculture that has been problematic for years. Buys confirmed that FSA had already in October 2020 requested the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, to set up task teams to determine and investigate police involvement in stock theft syndicates and farm attacks.
The two suspects remain in custody and will appear in court again on Wednesday, March 31. FSA plans to attend the court appearance and request that the state oppose bail, based on information and statistics known to FSA.