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Mango farmer sues police for R7m in damages

A mango farmer in Ofaclaco is suing the police because they have failed in their duties to address the theft of his fruit for years.

Solly Letsoalo owns 128 hectares of Portion 30 Lofdal, in Trichardsdal near Ofcalaco. Letsoalo told the Herald that thieves have left him emotionally and financially wrecked and that the police have not done anything to help him. He says that thieves have been trespassing and stealing his green mangoes since 2022. He says the thieves arrive with bakkies and get away with bags filled with his mangos.

intruders at the farm.

“I have reported it to the police on many occasions, but my pleas fall on deaf ears.
“We are serviced by the Maake Police Station, but we also have the Sekororo Satellite Police Station, which has about two vehicles to service the local communities. In most cases, when intruders and thieves are on the farm, I’m told there is no vehicle and by the time the police arrive, the thieves are long gone,” he says.

Mangoes scattered in the ground by alleged thieves.

Also read: Mango farmer at a loss

He says officers from Maake one day arrived in two vehicles and were met by a group of thieves who carried sharp objects and were not intimidated by the police,” explains Letsoalo.
Letsoalo says the thieves are violent and steal anything they can find on his farm. They have stolen transformers, cables, vegetable mats, and water pipes.

Transformer damaged.

As a result, Letsoalo reached out to the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) for help. The organisation has vowed to help Letsoalo and recently they sent a summons to the SAPS asking for compensation for the losses caused by illegal trespassers on his farm. The summons demands that the SAPS must take responsibility for the more than R7m worth of damages caused by illegal trespassers on Letsoala’s farm in Limpopo.

This claim covers the damage that Letsoala has suffered in terms of property, implements and especially his mango production. According to Saai, the SAPS’s failure to act after Letsoala’s pleas that the police should intervene can be considered as negligence. Letsoalo has been struggling to keep up with his running expenses. He may lose even more because he is unable to pay his children’s school fees and will have to sell his property and possessions.

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