Catle Lifting Unit

Live-Stock Theft

Suspicion of a Cattle Theft Contact 072 613 9925
Suspicion of a Cattle Theft Contact 072 613 9925


1. STOCK THEFT ACT, 1959 (ACT NR 57 OF 1959)
Document of identification to be furnished by person who disposes of stock:
• Section 6 (1) Any person (including any auctioneer, agent or market who sells, barters,
gives or in any other manner disposes of any stock to any other person shall at the time of
delivery to such other person of the stock so sold, bartered, given or disposed of, furnish
such other person with a document called a document of identification.
• Section 6 (3) Any person to whom a document of identification has been furnished in terms
of subsection (1) shall retain it in his possession for a period of at least one year.
Stock or produce driven, conveyed or transported on or along public roads:
• Section 8 (1) provides that no person may drive, convey or transport any stock or produce
which he/she does not own on or along any public road unless he/she has in his/her
possession a certificate (removal certificate) issued to him/her by the owner of the stock or
produce or the duly authorised agent of the owner.

Duties of owners:
• All owners of cattle, sheep, goats & pigs must register an identification mark at the office of
the registrar of animal identification.
• Each owner must mark his/her animals in the prescribed manner.
• All cattle, sheep, goats & pigs of which the identification mark have become indistinct or
invisible, must be re-identified in accordance with the legal provisions.
• Any owners of an animal with an identification mark on it, who wants to sell, barter or give
away the animal within 14 days after he/she became the owner of such animal, must provide the new owner with a document of identification. This means that within 14 days the animal can be disposed of without having being branded with the new owner’s mark since it already has the previous owners mark on it & a document of identification has been issued.
• An owner of an animal who wants to sell, barter or give away an animal, must mark the
animal with his/her own mark before disposing of it. The owner must also provide to the
new owner a document of identification. The new owner must keep the document of
identification for a period of one year. This means that after 14 days the animal cannot be
disposed of without having being branded with the new owner’s mark & a document of

• Can be tattooed from the age of one month.
• Must be marked by the age of six months
• Can be branded at the age of six months - &
• Must be branded by the age of the pair of permanent incisors (two-tooth stage).
Small Stock
• Must be tattooed at the age of one month.
• Must be tattooed at the age of one month.
• Can be tattooed at the age of one month - &
• Can be branded at the age of six months.
• Can be tattooed at the age of six months - &
• Can be branded by the age of twelve months.

4. MEAT SAFETY ACT 2000 (ACT NR 40 OF 2000)
Prohibition of slaughter of animals at places other than abattoirs, and exemptions:
• Section 7 (1) provide that no person may-
a) Slaughter any animal at any place other than an abattoir;
b) Permit the slaughter of any animal at any place under his or her control, unless the
place is an abattoir; or
c) Sell or provide meat for human and animal consumption unless it has been
slaughtered at an abattoir.
• Subsection (1) does not apply to slaughter for own consumption or for cultural or religious
• Section 7 (2) provide that no meat or animal product obtained from an animal slaughtered
as contemplated in paragraph (a) may be sold to any person.
• Livestock-owners should keep all fences & gates in proper condition to protect their
livestock. The employment of a specially trained employee can be considered for daily
fence patrolling. He can see to it that holes in & under fences are repaired at once. Inspect
these reparations yourself.
• Loading ramps in paddocks or on farms away from direct supervision should be kept locked
or obstructed at all times.
• If you consider buying an additional farm, remember, “absentee landlords gather no crops”.
Rather try & buy close to your residential farm.
• Prevent stolen animals from being hidden on your property. Stock-posts serve as ideal
overnight stopovers to hide livestock. Unknown livestock found at such posts should
immediately be reported to the SAPS.
• Livestock at stock posts should be counted by the livestock-owner him-/herself, at least
once a week.
• If employees at stock posts possess their own animals, a good preventative measure
against stock theft, (if involvement of employees is suspected) is to allow the animals to mix
& graze together.
• Many court cases are lost because of disputes regarding the proper identification of
animals. If an animal is marked with a registered brand or tattoo, disputes will be avoided.
Employees should properly mark their livestock, according to the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No 6 of 2002), preferably by branding them.
• Be particularly watchful during the full moon, weekends & at the end or beginning of a
month, or during periods that you know from your own experience, when stock thefts
(slaughtering for the pot) occur.
• Report unknown animals among your animals immediately to the SAPS & your neighbours.
• Livestock-owners should at all times report all livestock theft cases on their property
immediately. The longer you delay, the less the possibility of achieving success.
• The regular herding & counting of animals are of obvious importance. Also check up upon
your employees’ livestock. If it is not possible to count your livestock everyday, try counting
your animals at least twice a week on irregular days. Avoid any routines, especially at stock
posts, as your employees may be informers to stock thieves. Shortages & signs indicating
possible thefts should immediately be reported. The livestock-owners must count the
animals him-/herself & can not leave it to his/her employees to do the counting or to lodge
any complaints.
• When considering applicants for employment, enquiries should be made at previous
employers to establish the real reason why an employee had left his previous work.
Enquiries should also be lodged at the SAPS to determine whether the applicant has a
criminal record. Establish what kind of criminal record the applicant has.
• Employees should be trained to pay attention to irregularities. Ask your employees to watch
what they say about activities on the farm in the presence of strangers. Careless talk can
lead to livestock losses.
• Report immediately to your Stock Theft Unit when animal speculators & hide & bone buyers
or livestock dealers from neighbouring countries are active in your area. Keep proper
record of all prospective livestock buyers as soon as you enter negotiations.
• The necessity of a thorough stock register cannot be emphasised enough. Commit to paper
as much details as possible and keep the register up to date yourself.
• Do not allow loitering on the farm or any idle unemployed people to settle on your property.
Strangers entering the farm or visiting labourers should first obtain your permission.
Implement a visitors control system, wherein all particulars of visitors to the farm are noted,
whom they’re visiting & when they’re leaving.
• It often happens that border livestock-owners become involved in illegal trade with citizens
of neighbouring countries in some other way like the renting of grazing pastures. There are
legal steps that must be taken in this regard, but if not taken, such actions can create the
ideal climate for the crimes & stock theft.
• It often happens that stock theft cases have to be withdrawn due to lack of interest or
reluctance shown by some complainants to attend court proceedings. Show interest in
solved cases & attend all court cases.
• Cooperate with the local SAPS & Stock Theft Unit, & not against them. Support them in
their efforts to help you.

 Count your livestock REGULARLY.
 Report ALL stock theft cases IMMEDIATELY.
 Keep a controlled LIVESTOCK REGISTER.
 MARK your stock accordingly.

To render exceptional service to all livestock owners by means of the combating & successful
investigation of stock theft.

Rodney van Rensburg