A 38-year-old suspect who was arrested for allegedly stealing cattle worth R1.1 million has been granted bail in the Bethlehem Magistrate’s court.
Free State police spokesperson Zweli Mohobeleli says William Blignaut, a tenant at the Erfenis farm near Bethlehem, allegedly stole 160 cattle between February and November from his landlord.
He was arrested after the owner became suspicious.
Mohobeleli says the cattle was sold to farmers at an auction. He was granted bail of R100 000 and will be back in court on December 6. Mohobelei has appealed to farmers to regularly count their stock.
“The owner of the cattle left the stock in the care of the suspect. A couple of months ago she noticed that some of her cattle were missing. The auctioneers should have noticed that the brand markings on the cattle did not correspond with the person who was selling it, that is why we want to caution them.
The necessary documents must be in place and the branding of stock checked to make sure that he or she is indeed the lawful owner. We appeal to auctioneers to ensure that due processes are followed before a sale can be concluded,” says Mohobelei.
He says failure to observe these procedures may result in legal steps being taken against the auction.