Zimbabwe and Botswana have agreed to electronically tag cattle for villagers living along the border to curb rising cases of cattle rustling.
The programme is set to start at the Mlambaphele border area in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South province.
Stocktheft is rampant in Matabeleland South, with the vice rife in areas like Tshanyaugwe Nhwali, Mlambaphele, Guyu, Manama, Mankonkoni Rustlers Gorge and Ngoma.
The alleged cattle rustlers reportedly steal cattle and then change the brand marks of the stolen cattle before slaughtering the beasts in the bush and selling the meat to butcheries.
Speaking during a recent tour of Mlambaphele Border Post to meet with the affected communities, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, said:
Zimbabwe and Botswana agreed that there is a need to electronically tag the cattle along the border, especially here at Mlambaphele where this programme is going to be pioneered.
We need to urgently address this issue of cattle rustling as per agreements made by two countries during the third session of the Bi-National Commission last month.
Botswana has introduced a shoot-to-kill policy on any Zimbabwean livestock that strayed across the border, causing tension between the two countries.
The neighbouring country defended the policy on the grounds that it is meant to stop the spread of foot and mouth disease.
Following the recent third session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Victoria Falls, President Emmerson Mnangagwa established an inter-ministerial committee to deal with stock theft along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border.
The inter-ministerial committee is chaired by Kazembe and the other committee members include Ministers Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (Defence and War Veterans Affairs), July Moyo (Local Government and Public Works), Mangaliso Ndlovu (Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Professor Mthuli Ncube (Finance and Economic Development) and Dr Anxious Masuka (Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development).