Twelve Zimbabweans charged with trafficking of minors

Twelve Zimbabweans charged with trafficking  of minors
Twelve Zimbabweans charged with trafficking of minors

FRANCISTOWN: Twelve Zimbabweans were Tuesday arraigned before court to face charges of smuggling in persons and another of entering Botswana through an illegal point of entry.

According to the charge sheet, the accused, Wandisile Nkomo, Lord Sibanda, Nthabiseni Ncube, German Chuma, Desire Ncube, Zihla Majikijela, Christopher Dube, Vivian Masenda, Dorcus Ndebele, Alton Ngwenya and Headman Ndlovu, are alleged to have entered Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry at Ramokgwebana village on March 29, 2024.

All the accused save for the first accused, Khaya Ngwenya, pleaded guilty to entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry.

Pleas in another charge of smuggling of persons were reserved because investigations were still at their initial stage. According to the charge sheet, the dozen, contrary to section 12 A (1) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act no 13 of 2018 (Cap 08:09) acting jointly together and with a common purpose, smuggled minor children from Zimbabwe into the Republic of Botswana on March 29, 2024 at Jackals No. 1 village.


The minors are now under the care of social welfare officers at a place of safe custody following the arrest of the accused. Ngwenya, who told the court that he is or masterminded how the two offences were committed unsuccessfully tried to convince the court to absolve his countrymen from the offences they were charged with since they knew nothing. Ngwenya was however, not charged with entering Botswana through an ungazetted point of entry since preliminary investigations show that he lawfully crossed the border at Ramokgwebana border post. Information before court shows that the car that was used to transport the accused and minors from Zimbabwe en route to South Africa (SA) through Botswana also belongs to Ngwenya.

However, Ngwenya’s bid to free his countrymen from the charge of smuggling of persons hit a snag after Magistrate Ditebogo Ntuli told him that it was not his call to do so.Ntuli told Ngwenya that it was still premature for him (Ngwenya) to make that plea.

The magistrate instead advised Ngwenya that his plea will be determined after the prosecution had completed its investigations. Ngwenya said so after prosecutor Moatlhodi Macheng had told the court that investigations in the matter (smuggling of persons) were still at their initial stages since the offence was allegedly committed on March 29, 2024. Macheng had also told the court that the accused were a flight risk since they were arrested en route to SA and had no known permanent places of residence in Botswana.

Additionally, Macheng said most of the accused were a flight risk because they did not have any documents authorising their stay in Botswana when they were arrested and they had since pleaded guilty to entering Botswana through an unlawful point of entry. Magistrate Ntuli then remanded all the accused in custody till April 19, 2024 to allow the prosecution to complete its investigations. Facts of the matter in respect of the charge of entering Botswana through an illegal point of entry will be read to all the accused save for Ngwenya on April 19, 2024.

Editor's Comment
Stop the children killing madness!

The incident comes on the heels of a similar one where a father murdered his two toddlers in Francistown. As we grapple with the shock and sorrow of this loss, it is essential to address the underlying issues that led to such a horrific outcome.Our hearts go out to the innocent victims, the three boys aged 13, 10, and eight who lost their lives in circumstances that defy comprehension. Their deep cuts and untimely demise have left a scar on the...

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