Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Kalafatis’ father dies after battling injuries from attackers

The father of the late John Kalafatis, who was murdered by four Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldiers in 2009 in Gaborone, has died after battling with injuries that he sustained following an incident in which he was assaulted by four men at his workshop in Mogoditshane in May last year.

Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard this week, a brother to the late John Kalafatis, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that his father passed away this week after battling with injuries that he sustained from his assailants.

“On 1st May 2012, my father was working overtime at his workshop in Mogoditshane at around 7 pm, assisted by one of his workers, and decided to close down the workshop so that they could knock off. He had parked his bakkie inside the workshop and proceeded to reverse the car outside. After he had done so, his worker rolled down the shutter door whilst my father waited outside,” he said.
It so happened that the worker was experiencing some difficulty in locking the shutter door.

“My father alighted from the bakkie with a view to help the worker lock the door. Then four men approached my father from behind. Two of them proceeded to grab him whilst two restrained the worker,” said the son, adding that his father put up resistance.

“One of the two men who had gone to restrain the worker came over to assist the two men who were then holding my father down to the ground. One of them struck him on the head several times with a claw hammer whilst the others held him firmly down to the ground. One of them removed a sling from a bag and tied his hands behind his back. The other proceeded to tear a piece of cloth from my father’s shirt and stuffed it into his mouth and tied another piece over his mouth,” said the son.

He said the men used ‘excessive’ force which resulted in his father‘s teeth being broken.

“Thereafter, one of the men jumped into my father’s bakkie, a double cab, and jumped on the driver’s seat, followed by another who sat on the passengers’ seat,” he said. The two remaining assailants pushed his father and the worker in to the back seat of the bakkie and also went inside, sandwiching his father and the worker; instantly pressing down their heads between their knees so that the worker and his father could not see where they were being driven to.

“The ride ended at some spot behind Sir Seretse Khama Barracks in Mogoditshane. The four assailants threw my father viciously to the ground, his arms still tied at his back and the ligature still tightly wound over his mouth leaving the worker in the back seat.”

The son revealed that one of the assailants told his father in English that “we are coming back to kill you”. Thereafter, the four men drove away in the bakkie with the worker.

“The worker told me that the four men later took him to a spot behind Choppies Supermarket in Mogotshane. He was released unharmed.

The assailants reportedly went back to the workshop and stole an amount of P9000.

“After stealing the money, they left the workshop key on my father’s desk and disappeared. Meanwhile, my father, with the grace of God, had not lost his consciousness and was orientated enough to recall his situation and ordeal,” said the son.

The late Kalafatis senior, a cripple who walked with the aid of a walking stick, managed to disentangle himself. But the assailants had broken his walking stick and spectacles. He crawled on all fours and was able to locate a dirt road some 40 metres away from where the men had dumped him.
“Strangely, the assailants had not robbed him of his watch. He sat there and waited for his fate.

He could either get help or the assailants, in keeping with their word of coming back to finish him off, could come back. Again with the grace of God, a vehicle passed by. It was around 9 pm on that wintry night.”

The 66-year-old Kalafatis senior flagged down the passing motor vehicle but the motorist could not stop.

“My father waited and he told me it was one of the longest s of his life. Later on, motor vehicle lights appeared. This time around, the vehicle stopped and the motorist, accompanied by other people, alighted. He told my father that he was the same motorist who had passed by earlier on, but that out of fear he could not stop. My father narrated his ordeal to the motorist who ferried him to Mogoditshane Police Station,” said the son, adding that before the police took his father to Nkoyaphiri Clinic they phoned him.

His father’s bakkie was later abandoned at Millennium bar in Mogoditshane.

“He was later transferred to Bokamoso Hospital. Eversince, he was in and out of hospital. On the 10th October, he was transferred to a hospital in South Africa and admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was complaining of severe headaches. During this period he also had a stroke. He had lost his speech and the function of his left arm and vision in the left eye. The doctors performed MRI scan on his head and they discovered accumulation of fluid in his skull,” said the son.

According to the son, before this incident, his father had not complained of such ailments.

On the 6th February 2013, he was transferred from the South African hospital to Bokamoso and continued his hospitalisation and passed away on 4th March this year. The visibly heartbroken Kalafatis family has appealed to the public to come forward with information that could aid police investigations.

Mogoditshane Station Commander Nkwebi Chilisa confirmed the case saying thus far no arrests have been made. He added that police investigations are still on going.

Meanwhile the killers of John Kalafatis, Gotshosamang Sechele, Ronny Matako and Boitshoko Maifala are free men after President Ian Khama issued a presidential pardon. They were set free after serving only a few months of their 11 years jail sentence. The three men were jointly charged alongside their fellow Botswana Defence Force (BDF) member, Dzikamani Mothobi, who has long been acquitted of the murder of John Kalafatis in May 2009.


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