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The following is an executive summary of a report by the World Bank on the implications of climate change on water security in Lesotho.

Abundant water, along with high altitude and geographic proximity to major demand centers in southern Africa, is one of Lesotho’s most valuable renewable and sustainable natural assets. In a country characterised by high levels of poverty and income inequality, water contributes roughly 10 percent to overall gross domestic product (GDP). A large portion of this benefit comes from revenues associated with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), a multistage infrastructure project that enables the transfer of water from the water-rich highlands of Lesotho to the economic engine of the African continent in Gauteng and contributes to the development of hydropower resources in Lesotho. Balancing the opportunities afforded by the LHWP with the need to enhance national water resources infrastructure and increase water security against potential future vulnerabilities is central to the government’s long-term vision for development and to sustainable economic growth.

This analysis conducts the first systematic examination of the vulnerabilities of Lesotho’s water management system to climate change by exploring a set of adaptation strategies across a wide range of potential future conditions.

Given the importance of water to long-term sustainable economic growth in Lesotho, extensive quantitative and qualitative analyses have been used to identify strategies that demonstrate successful system performance over a wide range of plausible future scenarios. The analysis looks specifically at the need to ensure continued development of water resources within Lesotho to increase security around the nexus of water, food, and energy along with sustained economic development, while also ensuring that Lesotho is able to meet its obligations under the Treaty with South Africa governing the LHWP.

The analysis does not prescribe a water management strategy for Lesotho based on a single prediction of the future, but quantifies the range of possible future conditions to empower stakeholders and demonstrate the benefits that can be realized over a broad range of possible future outcomes.

Developing a System Model for Lesotho.

The analysis is based on a water resource decision support model developed specifically for Lesotho. The Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model couples climate, hydrologic, and water management systems to facilitate an evaluation of the uncertainties and strategies of impacts on specified management metrics. The WEAP model has been developed over the past 20 years by the Stockholm Environment Institute working in partnership with a number of agencies (including the World Bank) and has been applied in numerous research and consultative projects around the world. The WEAP model is designed to evaluate the performance of water supply reliability for different water use sectors (such as domestic and industrial water users, rainfed and irrigated agriculture, hydropower, instream flow requirements, and water transfers to South Africa) across a range of future climate conditions. The model lays a foundation for a national system to monitor the development and use of water resources in Lesotho. The Lesotho WEAP model was developed through an iterative series of workshops with key stakeholders from various governmental departments.

The first step in the development process focused on developing the rainfall and runoff routines and calibrating these to observed historical streamflow time series. The second step focused on adding representations of the existing and planned water management infrastructure to the model to facilitate scenario planning.

Assessing Climate Change Scenarios for Lesotho.

The WEAP model was used to simulate the historic climate based on data from the national government archives and global datasets available in the public domain. These included 121 downscaled Global Climate Model (GCM) projections of future climate over two possible water demand scenarios, for a total of 244 scenarios up to the year 2050. This large collection of future climate projections is based on a bias-correction and spatial downscaling (BCSD) procedure that applies a four-step process to generate monthly climate on a 0.5° grid for the world’s landmasses. The grid cells corresponding to the river basins of Lesotho are extracted, and an averaging procedure estimates average monthly precipitation and temperature for each catchment in the WEAP model.

Robust Decision Making.

Although WEAP is a powerful modeling tool, models applied in isolation do not necessarily provide guidance to support decision making and policy setting. To play this role, models must be embedded within decision analytic frameworks that guide the development of experimental designs and the evaluation of the results that the models produce.

In this study, a robust decision-making (RDM) framework was applied to frame the analysis and help interpret the results. The analysis examines which strategies demonstrate robust performance across the range of future scenarios to show positive performance over a broad range of circumstances.

Because individual future scenarios cannot be assigned a probability of occurrence, the use of broadly applicable robust strategies reframes the management dilemma for climate adaptation.

Demonstrations of robustness can empower decision makers to implement interventions even under highly uncertain conditions.

The project worked with national experts, stakeholders, and policy makers in an iterative process to identify key uncertainties that could compromise

Lesotho’s water management strategy. These include climate change, domestic and industrial water demand, agricultural production, and changes in water transfer opportunities. The stakeholder process was also used to identify a range of potential adaptation strategies. These included new infrastructure, such as the Lowlands Bulk Water Supply Scheme, which could provide additional water to communities across the lowlands of Lesotho, the allocation of water for further development of irrigated agriculture, and development of future phases of the LHWP. To evaluate the performance of these strategies, stakeholders specified the key management metrics of the water supply system, including the reliability of water for agriculture, domestic and industrial demands for Lesotho, as well as water transfers.

Capacity Building.

Recognizing that adapting to future challenges, including climate change, is a long-term process, the approach to model development and application of the analytical tools focused on capacity enhancement for resource managers. The aim was to provide the necessary background and experience needed to use the models and analytical tools in support of forward-looking decision-making processes. A number of training sessions were held with managers and professionals to (1) improve the development and use of the WEAP-based water management model; (2) understand and apply the statistical programming language, R, for climate data analysis; and (3) apply the interactive visualization software, Tableau. Proficiency in WEAP will allow planners to continue to use, improve, and interrogate the WEAP model, while the R language is crucial for climate analyses and GCM processing for future climate investigations. The Tableau software facilitates the interpretation of large quantities of results that often characterize climate change investigations. Opportunities remain in Lesotho for further capacity building in these tools to examine and evaluate climate projects for use in the WEAP model. This experience in Lesotho suggests also that similar capacity building efforts could be extended to other countries and water management authorities within the Southern African Development Community as a means of supporting vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.

Climate Change Projections.

Key vulnerabilities within the current system have been identified with respect to water supply for domestic and industrial water demand, irrigation, and water transfers. A summary of projected future surface air temperatures from the ensemble of GCM datasets analyzed for this study suggests warmer conditions for the period from 2030 through 2050. The projected increase in air temperature derived from the GCMs ranges from a low of about 0.8°C to a high of 2.9°C above the historical average of 12.7°C. In contrast, there was no strong consensus among the climate models for projections of future precipitation for the same period.

Some GCM-modeled future projections, on average, are wetter while others are drier. For the twenty-year period, more future projections are drier (64 GCM projections) on average than wetter (57 GCM projections). The range of projected future precipitation includes both an increase and decrease of about 20 percent or 160 mm annually. The historical annual average precipitation over Lesotho is about 760 mm. These climate projections for precipitation and temperature are shown in figure ES.1.

Climate change scenarios suggest diminishing capacity to meet the future growth in demand for domestic and industrial water in Lesotho. Over half of the future scenarios evaluated predict unmet domestic demand of more than 20 percent for the 2041–50 period. The analysis shows that development of the Lesotho Lowlands Water Supply Scheme (LLWSS) would reduce the vulnerability to unmet demand and improve overall water security for the continued economic development of the industrial sector, meet increasing domestic demand, and provide for further development of irrigation potential. The Metolong Dam and Water Supply Program, the first project to be implemented under LLWSS, has increased security of supply to Maseru, Teyateyanang, Roma, Morija, and other surrounding towns. The study recommends the implementation of further phases of LLWSS as an adaptive measure to mitigate the potential effects of future climate change and current variability.

Lesotho’s agricultural sector is predominantly rainfed, thus susceptible to climatic variations and vulnerable to projected increases in climate variability.

Rising temperatures will increase the amount of water required for crops, exacerbating water stress during dry periods. Without irrigation schemes, any shift toward drier precipitation patterns could reduce agricultural yields. Coupled with projected increases in population, Lesotho’s dependence on food imports will likely increase. Developing additional irrigation capacity and expanding existing schemes could increase food security. The increased allocation of water required to expand from the 1,000 hectares currently under irrigation to the 12,000 hectares that have been identified as potentially irrigable could be met without reducing transfers of water to South Africa under all future scenarios.

Water transfers to South Africa will be increasingly vulnerable in the coming decades (see figure ES.2). Specifically, the analysis finds that in 10 percent of the climate scenarios (indicated as the points outside the shaded area in figure ES.2) the average amount of unmet water transfers increases from about 500 million m3 in the 2016–20 period to almost 2 billion m3 in the 2046–50 period in the absence of implementation of the additional phases envisaged. Delays in implementing the LHWP could undermine water security in South Africa and limit the economic and development benefits that accrue to Lesotho. The analysis then finds that various adaptation strategies, including full construction of the proposed Polihali Dam and the full buildout of all five phases of the LHWP infrastructure, both increase the amount of transfers to South Africa and increase their reliability over a wider range of climatic conditions (see figure ES.3). For each of the strategies evaluated, the analysis identifies the key climate conditions for which the deliveries to

South Africa (and other performance metrics) are unacceptable. For example, the analysis confirmed that the system with the Polihali dam is highly reliable under most climate futures and that deficits occur only in the very driest of futures (16 of the 122 cases, in which precipitation is less than 725 millimeters per year).

The development of the water transfer and hydropower components under Phase 2 of the LHWP are projected to bring additional benefits to Lesotho.

In addition to increasing the potential delivery of water in response to growing demand in South Africa, the projects are expected to contribute about

11,000 jobs annually during the construction period. Approximately half of these jobs will be in construction, with the rest in such indirect activities as agriculture, transport, and services. The majority of these jobs will be temporary and so the challenge will be to transfer skills and leverage income for sustainable employment after major civil works are completed.

However, improved road access and reduced travel times and transport costs will have substantial longer-term benefits through better access to and from agricultural markets and will boost tourism and other local development opportunities.

Implementing the lowlands scheme and expanding irrigation through the diversion of a portion of water captured by the LHWP would not jeopardize the reliability of the water transfers to South Africa. The analysis identified both a Plus Polihali, Lowlands, and Irrigation strategy and a Plus All Highlands,

Lowlands, and Irrigation strategy. These two strategies both dramatically increase the amount of water exported to South Africa and divert enough water to the lowlands to significantly reduce the projected shortages and increase food production in future decades (see figure ES.4).

The assessment indicates that transfers to both South Africa and Botswana could be reliably met under future scenarios in which the climate is about the same, or wetter, than as shown by historical trends. Under drier climates, there would be a tradeoff between meeting the transfer targets for Botswana and South Africa. The percentage impact on the transfers to South Africa would be much lower than that on the transfers to Botswana. When the transfers to Botswana are prioritized, they are very reliable, with shortfalls in only

4 of the 122 climates examined. With the development of the Polihali Dam, the South African transfer targets can be met under most, but not all, plausible future climates.

Conclusions and Recommended Next Steps.

The analysis outlines a range of possible scenarios for Lesotho based on a comprehensive assessment of the potential changes associated with climate change from 2030–50. The analysis does not prescribe a water management strategy for Lesotho based on a single prediction of the future, but quantifies the range of possible future conditions as characterized by the latest GCM results and stakeholder assessments of internal demand predictions and future water transfers. This quantification empowers stakeholders to act with more confidence by demonstrating that the implementation strategies can provide benefits to water resources management and provision over a broad range of scenarios.

Implementing a series of the adaptive interventions identified can improve overall system performance across the range of future scenarios and enhance the overall water security for Lesotho. Specifically the analysis draws the following conclusions:

  • Climate change will create important determinants for the future, long-term sustainable macroeconomic development of Lesotho. All future scenarios consistently demonstrate an increase in temperature, while changes in patterns of precipitation vary among the different scenarios. This will have implications for long-term domestic and industrial water security, patterns of agricultural production, and opportunities afforded through the further development of water transfer infrastructure.
  • Domestic and industrial water security is highly vulnerable under historical and current climate conditions, as well as under the full range of climate future scenarios. These results are driven by the current configuration of the water management infrastructure system, which does not provide interconnections between the developed water sources used to support the LHWP with domestic and industrial demand in the lowlands.
  • Agriculture production will remain vulnerable to inter-annual variability over the coming decades, particularly with continued reliance on rainfed agriculture. Irrigation schemes can be supported without significant reductions in transfer reliability to South Africa. Investing in monitoring and enhanced data acquisition would help improve future adaptive capacity and on-farm responses to changes in climate patterns and levels of variability.
  • The LHWP will continue to reliably meet transfers to South Africa over the coming decades unless climate conditions are about 5 percent drier or more than the historical record. Construction of the Polihali Dam, and associated infrastructure, will increase transfers and reliability. Build-out of the full LHWP increases the transfer capacity and can also support the development of water supply schemes in the lowlands along with irrigation development. Adapting to future challenges, including climate change, is a long-term process that affords time and opportunity for strategically positioned and driven enhancements. The analysis clearly points to a number of areas for further development.

Improve Data Monitoring and Management.

Data limitations will undermine Lesotho’s ability to monitor predictions and respond to changes in climate.

Design and implementation of an optimized hydrometeorological network would enhance the capacity of Lesotho to prepare for and respond to potential future changes in climate. Detailed agricultural data and information about the economic uses and value of water were not readily available.

These limitations led to a more cursory evaluation of the agricultural sector and the omission of a more formal economic analysis.

Continued Capacity Enhancement.

The tools and analysis required to support the planning for robust climate adaptation necessitate sustained capacity development. The nature of the analysis here provided support to the first iteration of an interactive participatory process. The time required to develop the tools and capacity needed provides a foundation, but should be further developed and integrated into government planning processes.

Economic Evaluation.

The climate modeling and RDM framework illustrates important decision pathways for future development in Lesotho. The cost and valuation data required to support a cost-benefit analysis across the wide range of climate conditions would also support an important economic evaluation of different adaptation options. These data could be incorporated into the current RDM analysis to evaluate the economic robustness of the different adaptations.

Extending Adaptation Analysis.

Using the existing data and tools to undertake additional iterations of the vulnerability and adaptation analysis up to the end of the 21st century would increase the scientific rigor. The analysis would enhance the capacity to evaluate climate risks and weigh different tradeoffs. Further adaptation of the WEAP model to a shorter time step, such as one day, would enable the evaluation of operational strategies for water allocation among competing uses, such as water deliveries and timing for domestic and agricultural use, as well as hydropower generation. Extending the geographic scope of the model to demand areas in South Africa that rely on water imported from Lesotho would also produce a more complete understanding of vulnerabilities and tradeoffs.

Lowlands Water Supply Scheme.

Continued development of the LLWSS is critical to improving the reliability and resilience of the domestic and industrial sectors. Exploring interconnections between the developed water resources through LHWP and linking these to address domestic and industrial demands in the lowlands could help improve the resilience of the existing system. Such integrated planning could also help to manage the associated political economy between perceived national benefits and the development of water transfer projects.

Agricultural Sector Assessment.

The results highlight the need for a more thorough assessment of the risks and opportunities for Lesotho’s agricultural sector of potential changes in climate. An evaluation of the implications of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, together with rising temperatures and water stress on agricultural productivity, should be further elaborated. A better understanding of these dynamics could help develop agricultural strategies suited for the unique climatic changes underway in Lesotho. This information could help direct a program to incorporate the traits of such plans into desirable crop production cultivars to improve yield.

Using a deliberate, inclusive process with Lesotho managers, this project incorporated Lesotho’s most pressing needs to demonstrate the vulnerabilities, challenges, and opportunities in the Lesotho water management system.

With a new quantification of options for improving system robustness, managers can move forward with plans that are most aptly positioned to support their objectives.

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The beauty queen of Lesotho



MASERU – WHILE many children her age were still adapting to the early years of school after kindergarten, Reatile Molefe was already plotting her life goals. Barely 10-years-old, Molefe already knew exactly what she wanted to do in life.

“I was already geared towards being a model at that early age. I was already portraying fancy and modest moves linked to modelling,” said the beauty queen, now aged 22.

It didn’t take time for her mother to identify the potential and found a need to sharpen it further.

“My journey in beauty pageantry started at the age of eight in 2009. The reason my mom thought I should hop into pageantry was because I was active and smart. I also had role models from the industry by then. I mean, I had an ambition of every little girl’s dream of being a star or being dressed in cute ball gowns so I also had a strong desire to be like that,” she said.

“I started my cat walking lessons at Little Miss Lesotho Companies but didn’t win. Not winning gave me motivation to work more towards my craft, it pushed me into wanting more as I couldn’t settle for less,” she said.

Molefe now boasts of 14 tittles to her name. She has donned the beauty pageant crowns in all stages of her life.

“I was crowned Queen in my two previous schools. I was Miss New Millennium High School in 2012 and Miss Lesotho High School in 2017. The 14th title I scooped made me believe in myself even more as I got to gain experience competing with people from different countries,” said Molefe, who has also made a bold statement by competing at the international level.

Molefe attributes her prowess to her high levels of confidence.

“Pageants create a bonding experience where women lift each other up, but what gives me an upper hand is being comfortable, secure with myself and being me throughout,” said Molefe, adding that her favourite category during pageantry competitions is when models are asked to strut the ramp in evening wear.

“That’s when the audience and the judges get to see the creativity, the poise and eloquence of the queens,” said Molefe, who believes that the audience’s response can destroy or build a contestant’s confidence.

“The audience can play either of the two roles during a contest. They may make a positive impact on females taking part because they teach them how to be resilient thus prepare them for real world situations. On the other hand, the audience may also make a negative impact and lead to a whole host of mental issues among participants who may be worried about their image and appearance. This can lead to harmful side-effects,” stated Molefe.

Like other women in the modelling industry, Molefe has come across some challenges.

“An example is trying to get enough support from the general public on my first international contest,” she said.

Another was the cost of competing in beauty pageants as well as evolving body changes, she said.

“Being a beauty queen is not a walk in the park, especially when being judged by the community. And, yes, pageants do help women grow in confidence but without proper mental health support, they can also create insecurities. But through all the struggles, I am thankful to my family and friends. They are my biggest supporters. I may have gone through it all but their unbending support has kept me going,” she said.

Molefe says she considers being crowned second runner up in the Miss Culture International competition held in Johannesburg in 2021 as her most outstanding achievement. She was also crowned Miss Culture Lesotho in 2018.

“What was intriguing to me about this contest was the fact that I was the youngest among the contestants. It proved to be a learning experience for me and it deepened my knowledge about what the modelling world really entails.

“I never doubted myself but I thought I wouldn’t make it as I was the youngest. I got to compete with people of different races, which got me even more motivated. I learned a lot in participating in a multi-racial event,” she said.

Pageantry isn’t just about looks, according to Molefe.

“There is to more to it, like being able to embrace glamour. Beauty is subjective and it can be interpreted in different ways according to the perception of individual viewers. I consider being beautiful as an inside and out perception but the golden rule is to brim with confidence to make it in pageantry,” said Molefe, urging parents to enroll their children in pageantry schools at an early age “even as early as three-years-old”.

“This gives them ample time to develop because the young ones are able to easily learn from others to improve their skills and boost their self-confidence,” said Molefe, who dreams of a day when a beauty queen is considered a legendary woman in Lesotho.

One of her goals is to assist in educating the youth, especially young women, about menstrual health and other sexual and reproductive health issues.

Her target group is mainly girls that live in rural areas and small towns.

“Pageants promote goal setting, encourage us to value personal achievement and community involvement,” she said.

Calvin Motekase

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The stock-theft menace



MASERU – IF you recently enjoyed a nice beef stew at a restaurant in Lesotho there is a high possibility that the slaughtered cow might have been stolen from a farm in South Africa.

If you are in South Africa, it is equally possible that the cow was stolen from a cattle post in Mokhotlong or any other mountainous region of Lesotho.

That is because cross-border stock-theft is on the increase between the two countries. In fact, it has become a thorn in the flesh for farmers on both sides of the border.

Since 1990, 85 percent of livestock owners on the border villages of Lesotho have lost animals to thieves as compared with 49 percentage from non-border villages, according to a study published by Wilfrid Laurier University.

Earlier this month, this problem came into sharp focus when four Basotho men were picked up by the police in Thaba-Nchu in the Free State.

These men, aged between 24-51 years old, were travelling in a car bearing Lesotho number plates. They were transporting cattle that did not have documents.

The SAPS informed their counterparts in Lesotho who rushed to the place to repatriate the suspects.

Maseru Urban Commanding Officer Senior Superintendent Rantoane Motsoela said their investigations uncovered that the cattle crossed into South Africa at Ha Tsolo through the Mohokare River.

Then they were transported from the border into South Africa.

S/Supt Motsoela said they have found that the cattle already had tattoo marks from one farmer in Ficksburg.

But the suspects had no documents to prove that the animals belonged to them.

Both the cattle and the car are still in the hands of the SAPS while investigations are continuing.

S/Supt Motsoela said the suspects are assisting the police with investigations.

In another incident police recovered five cattle of a Mosotho man in Qwa-Qwa, still in the Free State Province.

These cattle were reported stolen in Tšehlanyane in Leribe at the beginning of this month.

Police under their sting operation “Zero Tolerance to Stock Theft” launched their investigations that led to the discovery of the cattle.

The Leribe District police commanding officer Senior Superintendent Samuel Thamae said they were able to recover the animals with the help of the community who tipped them off.

S/Supt Thamae said they stormed Qwa-Qwa with their counterparts in South Africa to identify the stolen animals.

After convincing the SAPS that the cattle belonged to the concerned farmer, they were released to him.

The Mokhotlong District Administrator (DA) Serame Linake says they have been battling cross border stock theft for years.

He says Basotho in Lesotho would go to South Africa to steal the animals that they sell back to South Africa in Vanderbijlparkl after getting fraudulent documents.

Linake says these animals, cattle and sheep, are sold at an auction in Vanderbijlpark.

He says the South Africans on the other hand sometimes also cross the border into Lesotho to steal the animals.

To fight this theft, they have formed good relations with the SAPS, chiefs and councillors.

Linake says when animals are stolen from South Africa into Lesotho, their counterparts simply inform them on this side so that they could waylay them.

“Stolen animals are strictly sold in Vanderbijlpark in South Africa,” he says.

He says in his district animals are not sold in the butcheries like is the case in Maseru and other lowlands districts.

Linake says they are now struggling to control theft that takes place between the northern district and Qwa-Qwa because the perpetrators are Basotho who have now migrated to South Africa.

He says these perpetrators have lived in Lesotho and know all the corridors that they could use to come and steal animals in Lesotho and go back to South Africa.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli says stock-theft is a grave problem in the country.

He says they have formed a special team that is going to reinforce the team that is already dealing with stock-theft in the country.

When there is an alarm that some animals have been stolen, this new team is informed so that it can lend a helping hand.

S/Supt Mopeli says the theft happens within the country’s borders and between Lesotho and South Africa.

S/Supt Mopeli says they are managing to deal with the theft because they arrest the perpetrators and bring them before the courts of law.

He says the public should alert the police when they see animals being stolen so that they can be saved from the hands of thieves.

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sakeng Lekola says they have registered big successes in curbing cross-border theft especially after having a post in Mokota-Koti in Maputsoe.

He says they usually hold frequent patrols at the borders to fight this crime.

“We also hold frequent crossings with the South African army to share information regarding cross-border theft,” Lt Col Lekola says.

Lt Col Lekola says they sometimes use air patrols as another way to fight stock-theft.

He says they usually erect camps along the borders so that they can stop animals coming out of Lesotho or vice-versa.

“Last year we had a successful collaboration with South African soldiers where we patrolled the borders from Leribe to Mafeteng. The South African army was on their side and we were also on our side,” he says.

He says they were working together with the police and they reaped good results.

Lt Col Lekola says some herd boys report the theft of livestock long after first trying to track the animals themselves.

He says this gives the cattle rustlers a chance to hide.

He advised the farmers not to erect cattle posts near the borders because they are stolen easily.

“When the South Africans enter Lesotho borders to trace their stolen animals, they make the first encounter with the animals at the cattle posts and drive them away,” Lt Col Lekola says.

He appealled to farmers to work collaboratively with their herders to pay them their dues.

He says some farmers do not pay their herders and those herders usually bounce back to steal the animals in revenge.

“They enter the cattle posts easily because the dogs know them,” Lt Col Lekola says.

Because Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, stock-theft takes place easily between the two countries especially in the provinces of Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The porous borders make it easy for the movement of animals to take place between the two countries.

And the theft between these countries has been happening since time immemorial.

The cross-border menace continues to take place despite patrols that are organised by the security agencies from both countries.

A Transnational History of Stock Theft on the Lesotho–South Africa Border, Nineteenth Century to 1994 Journal states that stock theft has long been a problem along the Lesotho–South Africa border.

It says from Moshoeshoe I’s cattle-raiding in the nineteenth century through to the start of the democratic era in Lesotho (1993) and South Africa (1994), the idea that stock theft is both prevalent and an international problem has been generally accepted by all.

According to Farmer’s Weekly livestock theft has a much more detrimental effect on the economy than previously thought, and is becoming more violent.

It says organised livestock theft feeds into other more serious types of transnational organised crimes such as drug, weapons and human trafficking.

And ultimately this results in the creation of illicit financial flows.

Challenges to safety included no fencing along large stretches, and the lack of a suitable roads to enable South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops to conduct border patrols effectively, Farmer’s Weekly says.

In a piece published in November on the International Security Studies (ISS) website, ISS Today, stock theft was on the rise in South Africa, with 29 672 cases recorded by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the 2018/2019 financial year.

This represented an increase of 2.9 percent over the previous year.

The ISS said the problem is exacerbated by porous and poorly secured borders, lack of capacity to monitor the border, and mountainous terrain that is difficult to police.

“Such challenges create opportunities and trafficking routes for criminal networks to smuggle livestock, drugs and, at times, firearms across the border.”

The ISS said the transnational livestock theft affects farmers revenue and adds to consumer costs.

It says thousands of animals are stolen and sold through the black market.

And this hurts the economy and goes even further to impact consumers, as these animals could have provided meat.

Majara Molupe

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Matekane to launch microchip project



MAPUTSOE – PRIME Minister Sam Matekane will this Sunday launch a new microchip project designed to combat the rampant stock-theft in Lesotho.

The launch will be held in Peka in Leribe.

Speaking at a rally for his Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) in Maputsoe last weekend, Matekane said the government is weary of the rampant stock-theft that impoverished rural farmers in Lesotho for decades.

“When your livestock leaves your kraals your phones will alert you and your families,” Matekane said amid loud cheers.

He asked the people to go to Peka in great numbers to witness the launch and learn from the livestock microchipping experts how the project will work to combat stock-theft in the villages.

The project was first spearheaded by Thomas Thabane when he was the Home Affairs Minister in 2003.

That year, 120 rams were implanted with the microchip identification system in Masianokeng.

The rams belonged to a company called Mahloenyeng Trading Company (Pty) Ltd.

The then police boss, Jonas Malewa, had microchipped 64 horses at the Police Training College (PTC) a year earlier in a pilot project.

The Home Affairs Ministry had contracted a company called Primate Identity Technology ran by a Jewish man, Yehuda Danziger, to carry out the pilot project.

Danziger was also tasked with observing any side-effects the animals could have after the implantation of the microchip.

The government introduced the microchip implantation technology after realising that stock thieves would easily erase the branding and tattoo marks with red hot metal and acid.

The stock thieves also cut off stolen animals’ ears if they bore the owner’s identification marks.

Microchips are tiny electronic devices, about the size of a grain of rice, which could be stored in a capsule and implanted near the animal’s tail to make it easy to identify and trace lost or stolen animals.

The project however never picked up with successive government not showing any political will to carry it through.

Things are now set to change with Matekane launching the project this Sunday.

Tšepang Mapola & Alice Samuel

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