JWANENG – A stocktheft accused, Kebogile Keolehetse must have thought he really provided a poser yesterday when he incessantly demanded he wants the dead cow he is accused of stealing, alive and mooing its way into the courtroom during his trial. The cow in question died at an exhibit kraal before trial.
But Magistrate Odirile Mokgatle reminded Keolehetse that he was facing a serious charge that could send him to prison for a minimum of five years.“You should treat the matter with due diligence,” Mokgatle remonstrated with Keolehetse. This, after Keolehetse incessantly asked state witnesses why they wanted to claim his cow and that he had his own witnesses who would testify on his behalf.
First to bear the brunt of Keolehetse’s barrages was the complainant, Jeremiah Ramonko who testified that he was told by the investigating officer, that the cow died at Mabutsane exhibit kraal. Keolehetse would have none of it and objected that the cow’s old skin be admitted before court as part of the state‘s evidence.
He kept on asking state witnesses why they were claiming his cow as theirs, yet it had his brand name and ear marks. The complainant’s herdboy, 20-year-old Dimpho Motimedi testified that their tshetlha-tlhaba calf went missing in August 2012. “It came back the same year in September with a brand mark H E X 6 and an ear mark referred to as kwena e nnyennyane, all belonging to Keolehetse. “I tied it in the kraal, only to find it missing it again in the morning,” he said during cross examination.
He said he knew the said cow as he had herded it for some time and it had grown under his care. Investigating officer Godiramang Dipalane testified that upon receiving the report, he acted on a tip-off and arrived at the accused’s place where he found some cattle in a field belonging to Keolehetse’s father.
“The accused was not there but his father denied knowledge of such cattle except mentioning that they were brought by the accused person,” said Dipalane. He further revealed that he took the said cattle to Mabutsane exhibit kraal where the complainant identified one branded beast, bearing the accused’s brand. Dipalane said during investigations he traced Keolehetse by the brand using information from the veterinary office.
“The accused said the calf was his and that its mother was taken away by the complainant, but the complainant denied such,” submitted Dipalane. At this stage Keolehetse started giving the court a hard time by switching from Setswana to Sekgalagadi language and had to be told from time to time to stick to one language and ask the state witnesses questions rather than posing a defence.
Magistrate ruled that the accused had a case to answer and the matter was postponed to the following day for continuation of trial, but the accused person did not turn up. That prompted the prosecution to apply for a warrant of arrest against him and he will appear again on August 20, where he is expected to lay his defence.