Mpumalanga police arrested 23-year-old, Phumlani Mice Nkosi for stock theft after he was allegedly transporting a stolen cow hidden under firewood in a bakkie.
Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said Nkosi was travelling with several other men, who escaped when police pounced.
“The alleged stock thieves' strategy of covering a stolen cow with firewood was foiled when farmers raised an alarm when they saw a suspicious looking vehicle in Boschpoort Road, in Belfast on Sunday,” said Mohlala.
The vehicle caught the attention of local farmers who immediately called the police.
“On the police's arrival, it is alleged that about four suspects fled the scene and only the driver was cornered. The suspicious vehicle was loaded with firewood,” said Mohlala.
“On police's investigation, the recently slaughtered cow was found concealed under the firewood. The arrested suspect, Phumlani Mice Nkosi failed to explain why the cow was concealed.”
Police said Nkosi could not prove ownership of the cow and he was arrested for possession of suspected stolen property.
Further investigation revealed that the cow was stolen from one of the nearby farms.
“Nkosi appeared before the Belfast Magistrate's Court on Monday, November 27. He was remanded in custody and his case was postponed to Monday, December 4,” said Mashaba.
Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the partnership between community members and police in the area.
Manamela also cautioned farmers and communities to strengthen security “as criminals can take whatever they come across as we approach the festive season”.