FRANCISTOWN: An immigrant who entered Botswana illegally in 2012 has applied for bail pending trial. The applicant, Mehluli Ndlovu and two others who were not before court, landed in trouble after they allegedly assaulted a person in Palapye, which led to the death of the person on September 4 in 2019.
When Ndlovu made an urgent application before Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego on Wednesday, he readily admitted that he does not have proper travel documents that authorise him to be in Botswana.
“The investigations officer (IO) knows that I have a child with a citizen of Botswana and he further knows where I stay in Palapye. My child is now four-years-old ,” said Ndlovu when Phuthego asked him for clarity.
Asked further by Phuthego if he ever called his child’s mother to depose a supplementary affidavit to support his assertion that he indeed has a child with a citizen of Botswana, Ndlovu said: “The mother of my child was called to court to testify that I have a child with her during the time when I used to appear at the Magistrate Court in Palapye in relation to this offence (murder). I pray with the court to grant me bail so that I can go and take care of my child. I promise that If I am granted bail, I shall appear in court as and when required to do so and report myself at any nearest police station in Palapye.”
Ndlovu added that he has been in custody since November 4, 2019 and distanced himself from committing the offence that made him to appear before Justice Phuthego for asking for bail.
However, prosecutor Moatlhodi Macheng from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) vehemently opposed Ndlovu’s urgent bail application. According to the affidavit of the Investigating Officer, Macheng submitted, the applicant is an illegal immigrant who entered Botswana without travel documents.
“We as such fear that should the applicant be granted bail, he might escape without trace to his country of origin and defeat the ends of justice. He has been committed from the Magistrate Court in Palapye to the High Court here for trial. The applicant appeared before Justice Lot Moroka today with two other accused persons who have since been granted bail before he appeared before this honourable court,” Macheng said.
Asked by Phuthego if it was true that he appeared before Justice Moroka with two other accused persons in relation to the murder offence, Ndlovu answered in the affirmative.
Ndlovu said: “We appeared before Justice Moroka to get dates for another mention. We will appear before Justice Moroka again on November 23.”
Ndlovu will on November 17 know whether his urgent application holds water or not. Justice Phuthego also made an order that in the interim, Ndlovu should further be remanded in custody.