Outgoing Southern Regional Magistrate Barnabas Nyamazabo yesterday sentenced former Customary Court of Appeal member Mothibe Linchwe to a wholly suspended six months and to a P15, 000 fine.
The other Bakgatla royals, Mmusi Kgafela, Bakgatla Kgafela, Bana Sekai, Segale Linchwe as well as Seikanelo Sebolao and Chilis Matlapeng, were given 3-year wholly suspended twelve months sentences as well as P15,000 for destroying a Mascom tower.
Their suspended sentences are on condition that they will not commit the same offence in the next three years and the P15, 000 fine is to be paid in three months.
Passing judgment, Nyamazabo said that he had taken into consideration the pleas made by the defence lawyer, Dick Bayford, that the accused persons’ actions had not benefited them financially as well as the fact that their action could have been prompted by the anger that was shown by Bakgatla at a kgotla meeting where the tower was said by some to be the cause of the disease that caused the death of Linchwe II.
Nyamazabo further said that there was no doubt that the actions by the convicts were illegal but that they needed to be viewed from the aspect that they were encouraged to do that by their beliefs that the tower was a danger.
Commenting on the convicts themselves, he said that Mothibe Linchwe had called a witness who told the Court that he had for years worked with Linchwe and that Linchwe had in all those years shown to be a respectable person who was willing to work with others at all time.
Though Bakgatla, who turned up in large numbers for the sentencing, were mostly happy about the outcome of the case and could be seen hugging happily, Bayford indicated that they were appealing the conviction of their clients.