Meet the James Bond of the Beaufort West Stock Theft Unit
Farmer's Weekly|February 12, 2021
In 2020, Sergeant Thabo Moletsane won the Western Cape Stock Theft Committee’s award for Best Member of a Stock Theft Unit for the fourth year in a row. Glenneis Kriel found out more about this remarkable man.
Glenneis Kriel

Stock thieves beware. If Sergeant Thabo Shedrick Moletsane is on your case, he will not stop until he has traced, arrested and brought you to trial. This is according to Captain Tiaan van Zyl, head of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Beaufort West Stock Theft Unit, of which Moletsane is a member.

During 2019/2020, Moletsane investigated 58 cases that led to 66 arrests. Of these, 45 went to court and resulted in 34 convictions.

In one case, Moletsane and the late Constable Siphosethu Ralehoko followed up on rumours of a theft in Nelspoort, Beaufort West. This led to the arrest and prosecution of two suspects before the farmer had even realised her animals were missing!

And, last year, Moletsane identified two suspects via a video recording captured by an on-farm camera, leading to the apprehension and conviction of the thieves.

    “To succeed like Moletsane in the stock theft unit, you need to be a great judge of people and willing to work long, irregular hours. You also need to foster good relationships with people and build a network of informants,” says Van Zyl.

    WELL-PLANNED, BUT SWIFT

    Speaking at Agri Western Cape’s annual gala dinner in November last year, where Moletsane received the Western Cape Stock Theft Committee’s award for Best Member of a Stock Theft Unit, Lieutenant-Colonel Johan Smit, SAPS Western Cape coordinator of stock theft, ascribed Moletsane’s success to his discipline, determination and hard work. He said that Moletsane conducted well-planned operations and executed them in the shortest possible time, despite having few resources at his disposal.

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