By Lebogang Mosikare
Senior Magistrate Thebeetsile Mulalu fined two men convicted of illegal possession of elephant tusks P15,000 or three years in jail, should they fail to pay the money by August 30.
Gosaitse Mathangwane 29, and Spencer Chikumba 41, were arraigned before court last week for illegal possession of six elephant tusks worth P89,320. The tusks weighed 63.8kg. They were caught along Gerald Estates road in Francistown on December 1, 2009.In mitigation the duo told the magistrate that they are breadwinners for their families and pleaded with the court to give them a non-custodial sentence because sending them to jail would rob their families of respective sources of livelihood.
In his ruling, Mulalu said the killing of elephants for their tusks in his jurisdiction is increasing at an alarming rate.He said it was the duty of the court to impose stiffer punishment to deter others who may be tempted to illegally deal in elephant tusks.He said elephants are a partially protected species that earn the country foreign currency in the tourism industry. He added that the accused have committed a serious offence.Meanwhile, a 22-year old man of Dukwi in the Central district appeared before Principal Magistrate Dumisani Basupi to answer for a single count of rape.
The state alleges that he had unlawful carnal knowledge of a young woman of the same village on September 29, 2012.The man pleaded innocence. Prosecutor Oteng Selalame told the court that he does not object to the accused being granted bail on condition that he reports to Dukwi Police Station every Monday during working hours, and does not interfere with state witnesses and attends court whenever he is needed.The magistrate granted him bail on conditions applied for by the prosecution.