Mqanduli policeman Mnoneleli Fikizolo has come in for high praise after foiling the well-planned theft of nine cattle worth R90,000.
Apparently the animals had already been loaded into a truck headed for East London when the officer’s swift action stopped the thieves in their tracks.
Stockowner Monwabisi Taboyi, 61, of Zimane, thought he had lost his animals for good until Mqanduli acting stock-theft unit commander Sergeant Mnoneleli Fikizolo called.
”It is rare that stolen livestock are found. I take my hat off to this officer. If we had more policemen like him we could beat crime in SA. Sergeant Fikizolo was all alone and he put his life at risk to arrest three men. So many times we criticise the police but this time we toast them,” said Taboyi.
The cattle were on a truck travelling towards East London about 10km from Mthatha.
The suspects are Lwazi Tshangela, 37, from Konqini in Mthatha, Mawethu Mashumi, 41, and Olwethu Fethman, 21. They appeared in the Mthatha magistrate’s court on Monday on stock theft and fraud charges. The case was postponed to the following Monday.
Fikizolo, a police officer since 2007 and attached to the stock theft unit since 2011, said he acted on instinct.
”I was just doing my job,” he said. “I am pleased the cattle are all back with their herd. I was so happy to see him rejoicing when he came to collect his animals. Fighting crime is what I am committed to.”
He was driving from Mthatha on the N2 to Mqanduli when he came across a truck loaded with cattle. He became suspicious and stopped it.
Police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said three men were arrested in possession of suspected stolen stock on August 27 at about 13.20pm.
So many times we criticise the police but this time we toast them
“The arrest was executed on the N2 road near Qweqwe village resulting in the recovery of nine cattle. A member of Mqanduli stocktheft unit spotted a truck with a driver and a passenger conveying cattle. He stopped it and requested to check the documents of transported stock. He was not satisfied with the explanation and immediately called for backup from Mthatha. An investigating team was assembled immediately and the three suspects were arrested,” said Tonjeni.
The cattle were returned to the owner before he even opened a case. The truck was impounded. The owner has been traced to East London.
According to police the permits to load and transport the cattle seemed genuine at first but on further investigation it was found they were fraudulent. They had the forged stamps of a Mthatha traditional leader who died a long time ago.
Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt General Liziwe Ntshinga welcomed the arrest and commended Fikizolo for being alert and inquisitive.
By Lulamile Feni – DispatchLIVE