The KwaZulu-Natal government and local farmers say stock theft is costing the country, and its provinces billions of rand, and is also affecting the local agricultural economy. Police and farmers say stock theft is more prevalent in areas such as Bulwer, Ixopo, Mpendle and Mzimkhulu as well as areas bordering Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. A recent study conducted by a team of academics from Unisa found that there were more than 29,000 cases of stock theft reported in SA in the last financial year. Willie Clack, an academic at Unisa, told Business Day that stock theft resulted in a loss of about R1.3bn to the farming community in that year. Clack also runs the website to alert farmers and the police about hot-spots and the modus operandi of the stock thieves. He said these figures show a sharp rise in comparison to a study they did in 2012, which found that stock theft had resulted in the loss of R486.6m in the period under review. Subsistence farmers are...

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