On Wednesday two Zimbabwean nationals appeared before Principal Magistrate, Peggy Madandume in Francistown, to answer to charges of robbery.
The accused, Martin Sibanda and Bheki Khumalo, are said to have gained entry into one Sakhele Mabula’s house on the 22nd of January 2008 in Block 1, and robbed her a cell phone, radio blanket and a bed comforter.
Mabula, who works as a butcher, revealed in court that the two men woke her up after they had forcefully broken her door, gaining entry and demanding money from her.
“The other man stood behind me and the other one in front of me demanding that I give them money or my cellphone,” said the victim.
She stated that one of the accused, who was holding a torch, took a knife from her house and wielded it while commanding her to surrender her valuables. Mabula also informed the court that after giving up her cell phone, the accused went on to search the house and took her blanket, bed comforter and radio.
“The two men then escaped into the dark of the night. I went and asked for help from one of my neighbours who assisted me to call the police.”
Mabula further informed the court that the police officers from Kutlwano Police Station arrived and, together with her friend, they were taken to the police station to give statements. After a while, one police officer called to confirm the details of the goods stolen, and Mabula identified that they were hers.
The following morning, she was referred to Tati Town police station where one suspect had been arrested. She found all her belongings except her bed comforter. The police decided to take Mabula and her friend to the suspect’s place, where Martin Sibanda was arrested at Madzibalori location near Bluetown.
She informed court that when they got to the place of the accused, the other suspect had already escaped and had dumped the bed comforter in the neighbourhood.
One police officer, from Kutlwano Police Station, gave evidence before court that on 22 January, he resumed duty at ten o ‘clock and while he was patrolling with his team at 3:30pm, a police radio report informed them that there were two men crossing the road suspected to be carrying stolen goods.
“The suspects were heading to Bluetown location from Riverside, and we managed to apprehend the first accused, Martin Sibanda. The other suspect escaped,” said the officer.
The officer brought to the court’s attention that Martin was still armed with the knife he got from the complainant’s house, but they, however, managed to disarm him. They searched him and he handed over the stolen property. They then interrogated him until he revealed his partner in crime who was also arrested and handed over to Block 4 police station.
The two accused dismissed ever knowing the complainant until they had been arrested and saw her at the police station.
During cross examination of the police officer, Bheki Khumalo, second accused dismissed ever taking part in the robbery, as he was in Zimbabwe. He denied that his name was Bheki but Lungile Khumalo. He pointed a finger at the police for creating a story against him just because they had failed their investigation. He further pointed out that just because the officer knew him before the incident, he created the story against him.
The second accused further denied ever taking part in the robbery, citing that the police searched and found out he had his own cellphone and watch, which they took as stolen property.
All the stolen property was displayed in court as evidence.