MORE than 50 farmers in Bulawayo have lost huge sums of money after the Cattle Ownership Society failed to honour its obligation despite receiving payments, NewsDay has established.
Under the scheme, farmers were made to contribute towards three cattle for two years at a rate of $55 per month, but they never got a single beast out of the scheme.
“We were made to contribute towards three cattle for two years at a rate of $55 per month. After the two years had lapsed, we approached the Cattle Ownership Scheme offices at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) offices in Bulawayo for our cattle and they kept on promising us before disappearing. We are deeply concerned about our hard-earned money (and we need) help to track these thugs,” one of the victims, Thulani Ncube told NewsDay.
Ncube said more than 50 farmers in Bulawayo lost their hard-earned money through the scheme.
He identified one of the scheme’s directors as Rutendo Moyo.
“The guys are no longer picking our calls and we are worried. Their offices at NSSA building have been closed,” he said.
Another victim, Ndabezinhle Mhlanga, said some farmers paid using cash, while others used bank transfers. Some of them had their subscriptions deducted through stop-orders.
“These guys must be brought to book. I lost about $1 320 over a period of 24 months,” he said.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Moyo as from last week were fruitless as she neither answered her phone nor responded to text messages sent to her mobile phone.
Livestock Farmers’ Union national chairperson, Sifiso Sibanda condemned the scam, urging farmers to involve police and the Agriculture ministry on such schemes.
“There is need for farmers to work with reputable institutions that work in line with the Agriculture ministry. It’s an unfortunate thing that farmers have been duped and we don’t want that. Those people should be brought to book,” he said.
The emergence of dubious cattle ownership schemes comes as the government tries to rebuild the depleted national herd. —Herald