Seven years ago I hired transport from Kronstadt to buy and deliver bales to our farm. This was in 2011. I had used this white old man before as he was reliable. When he was not able to do it himself, he will send his son.
On this day it was the son that drove. He delivered the grass bales at the farm. But at the time of delivery my workers were elsewhere on the farm mending the fences
The drive off loaded by himself the bales. He then proceeded to load 11 stud cattle onto the truck from the kraals. He waited until it was dark and he drove off. Fortunately, the workers were at their houses by then and they tried to stop him and he refused.
He took the cattle to the auction in Kroonstad. He pretended that it was his.
With the help of Private Investigator from Fedility and friends, the cattle were traced the next day at the Kroonstad auction. He was arrested!!
He pleaded with us and my friends for us to drop the case in exchange for money. We refused! His father pleaded with me. I refused! He delayed the proceedings by changing lawyers three times. The court recordings got lost and the case had to start again with a new magistrate.
Yesterday he was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for stock theft!
Here are the lessons for all of us:
1) crime does not pay.
2) the incident damaged the transport business of the father as people could not trust them anymore. In business it is very difficult to build the reputation and brand but takes seconds to destroy it.
3) to accept money in exchange of dropping the case would be unfair to the police and everybody that help to apprehend the culprit. People should not get away with crime just because the are able to pay their way to freedom. The police and prosecutor did a very good job under trying circumstances. We always criticize them. We must complement when it is appropriate.
4) when we all work together as farmers and the rest of communities, we can defeat the crime epidemic that is facing farmers and the community at large. Together we stand, divided we fall!
5) if he had admitted guilt and shown remorse, the case could have finished early and possibly he could have got a lighter sentence. We as people find it hard to say ” I am sorry!”. This is a small sentence but is only used by people with BIG hearts.
Enough lessons for now!