Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor for Medie/Kweneng ward, Edward Swanekani is in hot soup for defiling a 16-year-old girl.
“The accused person appeared before court last week Tuesday and he was granted bail while his plea was reserved. He will appear again in court for mention on October 21,” he said.
Gabatshwane said they received the report, investigated the case and ended up charging the councillor with defilement. Earlier this month, the Teen Mothers Project by Walk of Hope in Letlhakeng village pledged to take care of a baby who was recently born from a 12-year-old mother until the baby completes Standard 7.
Asked about defilement in his policing area, Gabatshwane expressed great concern over the escalating cases in the Kweneng area. He said on average they record 30 to 40 defilement cases in a month in the Kweneng area with Molepolole, Sojwe, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, neighbouring lands and cattle posts being the most prevalent.
He said some victims are primary school learners with a majority of them being junior secondary school students. Gabatshwane expressed concern that some parents continue to sweep such incidents under the carpet.
“We mostly rely on tip-offs from school management and social workers because some parents have a habit of concealing such cases and protecting the people who have violated their children,” he said.
“Sadly, most of the perpetrators are people the victims are familiar with being close family members like fathers, brothers, stepfathers, uncles and friends to mention but a few. I, therefore, wish to implore parents to stand for their children’s welfare and report such cases to the police.”
Gabatshwane warned the police will continue to investigate and charge perpetrators of defilement since children are the property of the State and need protection.
“Defilement is a serious offence and everyone despite their background should know that sleeping with a minor is against the law and a punishable offence. We do not want to be a society with young mothers because this does not reflect well on us as a country,” he said.
Gabatshwane stated that the police are doing everything they can in educating the public about defilement, but unfortunately some men continue to defile girls while some parents support the perpetrators by concealing such cases.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the threat to the safety and wellbeing of children stating that defilement cases escalated since the country’s first ever lockdown last year. He indicated that then, some families had members demonstrating behaviours that their close relatives were not even aware of.