Four individuals from Zimbabwe have been sentenced to one year in prison for engaging in illegal gold mining at Albert’s Farm, situated near Matsiloje village. As per the charge sheet, Lucky Ndlovu, Honest Ndebele, Bernard Moyo, and Kholwani Dube were apprehended by a joint patrol team of the Botswana Defence Force and the Botswana Police Service while unlawfully mining gold at the farm on January 4.
Upon the reading of the charge sheet, the accused pleaded guilty to the offence. They were also convicted and sentenced to an additional year in jail for entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry near Matsiloje village on an unspecified date in January. The sentences will run consecutively.
The accused informed the court that they came to Botswana to “try their luck” and find better economic opportunities. When delivering the sentence, Magistrate Tshepo Magetse imdicated that it is in society's best interest for individuals found guilty of offences to be incarcerated. “The issue of illegal gold mining is prevalent in the Francistown region. It has now spiralled out of control and is now a national crisis. The maximum statutory sentence is also exacerbating this offence, and illegal gold mining has now turned into a circus,” remarked Magetse. The Magistrate also cautioned the now-convicted individuals that the 24-month sentence, which he wholly suspended concerning the charge of illegal gold mining, would be activated if they commit a similar offence in the future.