AfriForum, in collaboration with other organisations and authorities, impounded approximately 150 cattle on a farm near Vaalwater on Thursday 7 March 2019. This follows after a trespasser had cut the farm’s fences and locks to allow his herd of cattle to graze there, after which the farmer was informed by the trespasser that the land belonged to the state and that it was assigned to the trespasser.
A helicopter was used early in the morning to find and to gather the cattle on adjacent farms. Trucks were used to pick up all the cattle and transport them to the pound in Potgietersrus. Farmers from the community – from as far as Ellisras, Matlabas and Nylstroom – assisted with this task.
According to Llewellynn Hemmens, AfriForum’s Assistant Safety Co-ordinator for the Northern Region, many of the cattle had more than one brand and some were not marked at all. “It is illegal for cattle to have different brands and we therefore have a strong suspicion that many of the cattle were stolen. Farmers who could be potential owners have been informed of this and they were asked to identify the cattle at the pound. AfriForum also insists that the SAPS institute a thorough investigation into the case.”
The trespasser, whose cattle have been impounded, faces serious financial implications with regard to costs, per animal, for the time the cattle are impounded. Furthermore, that person will also be held responsible for the transport costs that the owner of the farm had to make to remove the cattle from his farm, as well as the possible loss of grazing land that the trespasser’s cattle had caused on his farm.
Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for Limpopo, says they regard this trespasser’s behaviour as a creative attempt at a land grab. “The way in which the trespasser tried to gain occupation of the land is extremely underhanded and, moreover, illegal.”
Hemmens added that the handling of the situation was well thought-through and organised, despite the SAPS’s poor conduct and unwillingness. “The community’s speedy action helped solve the problem without any conflict. We also made sure that the correct procedures were followed during this action and that it complied with all legal aspects.”
AfriForum urges farmers to be aware of their environment at all times and to inform their nearest police station and security structures of any similar incidents as soon as possible.