Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe says the issue of cross-border cattle rustling should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
Kazembe made the remarks on Friday at Mlambaphele Border Post where stolen cattle from Botswana are smuggled into the country.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently established an inter-ministerial committee to tackle cross-border cattle rustling along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border and appointed Kazembe as the chairman of the committee.
The inter-ministerial committee was set up after the recent third session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Victoria Falls where Botswana officials raised the issue of cattle rustling.
Kazembe led the ministerial delegation together with Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and other local service chiefs to Mlambaphele Border Post on Friday. In his address to stakeholders, Kazembe said:
It is very important that we address this issue of cattle rustling as a matter of urgency.
We had the third session of the Bi-National Commission last month with Botswana during which our President and his Botswana counterpart met and discussed this issue and it was topical in the sense that it is affecting communities on both sides of the border.
President Mnangagwa then directed us to set up an inter-ministerial committee, which I am chairing and directed us to come down here and speak to the affected communities and find out exactly what the challenges are.
We were given terms of reference and from what we picked up on the ground, the issue is deeper than what we thought and the communities are not happy and living in fear because of these stock thieves.
Kazembe said Zimbabwe will continue working with Botswana to ensure that cross-border cattle rustling becomes a thing of the past. He said:
We will, with the help of local communities do all we can so that we bring this menace to a halt.
In the spirit of re-engagement and good neighbourliness, we shall intensify our efforts towards our collaboration.
This is a stern warning to all rustlers and would-be rustlers across the country. We are here to get to the bottom of the problem by engaging key stakeholders on the ground so that we come up with robust solutions to this scourge and forward them to His Excellency President Mnangagwa for further guidance.