(for immediate release)


“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on”

Robert Kennedy (1925-68).

In recent times the National Livestock Prevention Forum (NSTPF) has been involved in many meetings all over the country and it is obvious that the statistics regarding the non-reporting of livestock is not over exaggerated.

Statistics South Africa reported in 2011 that 36.3% of stock theft cases were not reported by the victims and in 2012, this number rose to 40.1% and in 2013 it increased drastically to 63%. The 2014 victims of crime survey did not evaluate this phenomenon, however Lombaard (2014) found that 75% of sheep theft in the Free State Province is not reported.

The non-reporting of stock theft cases by livestock owners can be attributed to various reasons according to Statistics South Africa. Firstly, 31.8% of livestock theft cases are not reported due to a lack of trust in the capability of the SAPS to recover the stolen stock and/or to prosecute the case successfully.


Secondly, 30.2% of livestock owners believe that it is not an important enough crime to report to the authorities. This refers to small numbers that are stolen (one or two sheep etc). Thirdly, 11.8% of the victims of livestock theft use other methods to resolve the crimes, such as to report it to local authorities or neighborhood watch. Fourthly, in 8.8% of the cases the SAPS were not available or reachable.

It is the constitutional right of every citizen and also the livestock producer to decide if a crime should be reported or not, but the time has come to take this decision into perspective. There is no region in the country that is not plagued by livestock theft although the number vary from region to region and province to province. Therefore it is important to remember that the number of livestock theft units, the number of staff, vehicles, equipment, etc. of the SAPS is determined by the number of cases in an area or region.

If we use the following information provided by Statistics South Africa that 63% of cases are not reported, what is the consequences if 37 cases are reported in an area ?

Current situation in area

Number of cases reported Number of staff per unit Vehicles per unit
37 8 3


What is the actual situation in this specific area?

Actual situation

Number of cases reported How many staff is needed per unit Vehicles per unit
100 21 8

**Note this is an example and not a fact as to how these calculations are made by the SAPS.


It is clear that there are a shortage of 12 staff members and 4 vehicles at the specific unit.  What are the consequences for the livestock producer when deciding to report a case ? At first, due to the under-staffing of the unit, there are not enough staff to attend to the matter when needed in the first place and secondly, there will not be enough vehicles to be able to attend to the crime scene. Therefore, instead of having a reaction time of an hour, the reaction time is 12 hours because there is a lack of staff and vehicles. The big question to ask now is, who created this predicament, the livestock producer who decided not to report the crime or the community themselves ? Yes, livestock producers are the victims of their own choices, by not reporting cases.

The NSTPF wishes to urge all livestock producers not to hesitate in reporting livestock theft cases as this are the only way to ensure that a better criminal justice system is provided by reporting cases. Non-reporting will only cause the situation to get even worse from a reaction time of 12 hours to 5 days. If a community can claim that all cases are reported and still they are dealt a bad hand, action can be taken, but not before then.