Botswana: Zim woman sentenced for ‘illegal treatment’ of own children

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FRANCISTOWN: A Zimbabwean woman who enlisted the services of two of his countrymen to help her to traffic her two young children from Zimbabwe to South Africa was Wednesday sentenced for the offence.

Otilia Ngwenya, 28, entered a plea of guilty after the state laid a charge of neglect or illegal treatment of children without any reasonable cause.

She was charged together with Lechani Mpofu and Prince Mlalazi for the offence. 

The police charged the trio with the offence after they failed to give satisfactory reasons why Ngwenya’s two minor children were in Botswana without possessing passports or any travel documents. 

Magistrate Amantle Lungisani subsequently handed the trio a one-year suspended sentence on condition that they do not commit a similar offence within a period of 12 months. 

In addition, Ngwenya was fined P1, 000 payable within working hours on Wednesday for entering Botswana illegally failure to which she shall spend one year in jail.

Mpofu was also fined P1, 000 for entering Botswana through an illegal point of entry.

The fine is payable within a month from Wednesday failure to which he shall spend six months behind the slammers. 

At the end of the sentence the magistrate made an order to the immigration department to safely deport the children to Zimbabwe. 

In mitigation as in other similar cases in the past, Mpofu and Mlalazi pleaded with the court to be lenient when passing sentence because they were just following orders from the children’s mother to take her children to South Africa where she is based.

Also, in cases of a similar nature, some of the convicts told the court that they were forced by the dire economic situation in Zimbabwe caused by deposed President Robert Mugabe to traffic their countrymen from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

They said that trafficking was a lucrative business as compared to just sitting and doing nothing. 

Inspector Kenneth Edward represented the state in the matter.