Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale says cattle rustling in the region has become a threat to national security.
ZANIS reports that Dr Hamukale described the province as a major producer of beef for the entire countrys need and for export purposes.
He, however, noted that increased cattle rustling in the area was threatening national security which he said could only be curbed by introducing stiffer punishment for the perpetrators .
“There is too much cattle theft in Southern Province. It is my hope that this year, perpetrators of this crime get stiffer punishment.
” Oxen are being stolen and if this continues, we will not be able to produce enough food and our food security will be under threat,” he said.
Dr Hamukale said this at the Sherry Party held after the ceremonial opening of the Livingstone High Court Criminal Session for 2017.
The event was attended by Provincial Permanent Secretary Sibanze Simuchoba, High Court Judge Ernest Mukulwamutiyo, Livingstone Acting District Commissioner Harriet Kawina, Chief Mukuni of Kazungula and Heads of Government Departments.
He further said poaching was another major challenge in the province.
Dr Hamukale cited the most affected areas such as Kafue and Lochnivar National Parks respectively where some animal species had become extinct.
“Poaching in these affected areas is serious to the extent that some animal species have even become extinct. This means our children will find nothing when they grow up,” he said.
The Provincial Minister commended Chief Mukuni of Kazungula District for the good management of animals and natural resources in his area and urged other chiefdoms to emulate him.
Earlier, Livingstone High Court Judge Derrick Mulenga said justice was the most cherished tenet in any democratic dispensation like Zambia.
Justice Mulenga stated that it was the duty of the courts to ensure the rule of law was promoted and protected as this was an underpinning norm in a civilized society.
“It is our duty as courts to be vigilant and ensure the rule of law is promoted and protected as the same is an underpinning in a civilized society like ours,” he said.
He bemoaned the diplorable infrastructure at some local courts in the province saying most of them lack running water, inadequate courts, magistrates, support staff, and office space and no funding for capital projects for 2016.
He said the judiciary needed to be fully funded in for it to operate effectively.
Meanwhile, Dr Hamukale said he had taken note of the challenges in correctional facilities such as inadequate mattresses, uniform, electric pots, and acknowledged that they required immediate attention.
He said government was on course in terms of recruiting magistrates and support staff; building more court room and offices for the Judiciary and addressing the challenges in correctional facilities.