Quest for education lands illegal miner in trouble

The quest for further education has landed a Zimbabwean illegal gold miner in trouble. The Zimbabwean, Leopold Sibanda, and his co-convict, Prince Ndlovu, also from Maboledi village in Zimbabwe, were on Tuesday found guilty and sentenced to jail for illegal gold mining and entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry.
The quest for further education has landed a Zimbabwean illegal gold miner in trouble. The Zimbabwean, Leopold Sibanda, and his co-convict, Prince Ndlovu, also from Maboledi village in Zimbabwe, were on Tuesday found guilty and sentenced to jail for illegal gold mining and entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry.

FRANCISTOWN: The quest for further education has landed a Zimbabwean illegal gold miner in trouble. The Zimbabwean, Leopold Sibanda, and his co-convict, Prince Ndlovu, also from Maboledi village in Zimbabwe, were on Tuesday found guilty and sentenced to jail for illegal gold mining and entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry.

In mitigation before he was sentenced, Sibanda told the court that he sat and passed his Form 6 examinations in 2017, but since then he has not had the finances to pay for tertiary education. An emotional Sibanda said: "I wanted to study a course in Animal Science after I completed my secondary education but I don’t have the funds to pay for my tertiary education." "My situation is compounded by the fact that my father also does not have the money to pay for my tertiary education hence I ended up coming to Botswana with the hope that I would make money from illegally mining gold and then use it to pay for my tertiary education.” Sibanda’s partner in crime, Ndlovu, also pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy when sentencing him. “I understand that what I did was wrong and it is now affecting people who were not involved. I am taking care of my sickly grandfather and paternal uncle. I am also taking care of my minor child. I am therefore asking the court to tamper justice with mercy when passing sentences,” Ndlovu said. When sentencing the duo, Magistrate Bakang Gabaitsiwe said he took into consideration what the convicts said in mitigation. "Offences of illegal gold mining and illegal entry into Botswana are rising at an alarming rate in Botswana, especially at Matsiloje village because of its proximity to Zimbabwe.

The punishment for illegal mining is not doing enough to deter would-be offenders from committing such offences. "In the premises, I fine each of the ... persons P1,000 or in default they shall each serve one year in jail. I also fine each of the ... persons P500 or in default they shall each serve three months in jail for entering Botswana illegally. The sentences shall run concurrently in default of payment and the fines shall be paid by June 17.” During facts reading, the convicts admitted that they entered Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry on a date unknown to the prosecution. They also admitted that they were arrested by the police and members of the Botswana Defence Force on April 24 at Signal Hill Mine at Matsiloje. They also admitted that when the police and members of the BDF accosted them, they were found digging gold with other men who managed to run away but they were arrested after the police gave chase. According to court documents, Sibanda and Ndlovu were found in possession of metal detectors with headphones. Experts in the mining industry say that the best part about using headphones while metal detecting is that they give you better clarity by isolating the signal response. “By preventing background noise, they allow you to notice subtle details that may indicate the type and depth of buried items.”

Editor's Comment
CoA brings sanity to DIS/DCEC long-standing feud

This decision follows the raiding of the office of the former Director General of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo early 2022 and his staff officer by the DIS operatives who reportedly took files that they had targeted.After all back and forth arguments, the CoA has set the record straight giving an invaluable lesson to the DIS that it was no super security organ and it does not have any powers to cogently supervise other security organs including the...

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