Justice for Rural Livestock Farmers in Giyani Policing Area
Keywords:DoJ &CD, GMC, GPA, justice, stock theft, Traditional Court, South Africa
The majority of livestock farmers in the selected rural areas of Giyani Policing Area (GPA) (Makosha and Xikukwana) are losing out to stock theft with ineffective justice system options on offer (Magistratesâ€™ Court vs Traditional Court). They work in isolation on these courts destroys the livestock farmersâ€™ relationships with the local courts further causing increase in stock theft cases. This paper adds to the limited body of knowledge on the subject under exploration by highlighting the salient dimensions and components found to be essential in understanding the impacts of the available court systems. All of these salient dimensions and components were supported by literature review and fieldwork participantâ€™s responses. It is for this reason that the paper proposes this avenue of research. The paper adopted qualitative research approach, data were collected from 30 participants involving (7) Giyani SAPS STU officials (Key Informant Interviews - KIIs), (20:10) rural livestock farmers (Focus Group Discussions) and (3) Department of Justice and Development: Giyani Magistratesâ€™ Court [DoJ & CD: GMC] (KIIs) officials purposively, supplemented with courts session direct observations. The main findings of the paper show that the Traditional Court finalise stock theft cases speedily with financial rewards to the affected victims. The paper finds that the both officials for the courts in contention encounter difficulties to establish ownership of unbranded livestock, possession of stolen livestock illegally relocated or even slaughtered and control on the part of stock thieves. The impact of stock theft on rural livestock farmers resource-poor and small-scale farmers, is often more severe because they often lack resources to prevent and protect their livestock and they have small numbers of livestock. The paper also highlight the fact that the livestock farmers do not trust the functioning and performance of local DoJ & CD: GMC, their hope lies on the local traditional court operation. For recommendation; the paper advices that all role-players in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) should find ways to improve and expedite the handling of stock theft cases. It is noted that dealing with stock theft cases remains a specialised field for prosecutors, thus, the skills levels of court officials dealing with these matters need to be appropriate and adequate. Furthermore, the training of livestock farmers and responsible stakeholders of either of the available courts should be improved.Â
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