By Andrea Mukoma

CATTLE rustling and poaching in Southern Province have reached criminally high levels and it is unfortunate that some headmen in the region are involved in the rampant and indiscriminate illegal hunting of animals particularly in the Kafue National Park and Lochinvor, Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale has charged.

And Dr Hamukale has said the 2017 criminal High Court session should consider meting stiffer punishment against cattle rustlers in Southern Province because the scourge of cattle rustling and poaching has reached worrying levels.

Dr. Hamukale was speaking when he graced the official opening of the 2017 criminal session of the Livingstone High Court on Monday. “It is my hope that this year, cattle rustlers and poachers will be given stiffer punishment. Farmers are willing to produce more beef but people are stealing cattle. Cattle theft is a threat to food security,” Dr Hamukale said.

He further said that poaching in the province had also reached alarming levels where even some headmen were involved in the scourge. “Poaching is rampant in the province especially in Kafue National Park and Lonchivor. Unfortunately even some headmen are involved. How I wish chiefs in southern province can learn from Chief Mukuni in Kazungula. In chief Mukuni chiefdom, no one can kill a wild animal and left for free. Some species have been wiped out completely, I wish chief Mukuni can conduct a training to other chiefs in the province,” he said. And Dr. Hamukale has taken a swipe at the Livingstone City Council for charging K25, 000 for a portion of land where relatives can bury their relative.

He said that dying in the tourist capital has become expensive where a burial site at the old cemetery is now costing K 25, 000.

“It has expensive to die in Livingstone. The council is now charging K 25, 000 to burry a relative at the old cemetery. Therefore, the judiciary should not be surprised if the 2017 session you will find a Livingstone resident taking the council to court over burial fees,” he said.

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