Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mogoditshane hellhole quarry claims another life

Mogoditshane Police have confirmed investigating a case in which a young woman in her early 20s is suspected to have taken her own life at an abandoned quarry in the village this past Saturday October 3, 2020.

The woman’s lifeless body was brought up to the surface by the police early afternoon following a call from eye witnesses. The witnesses say the young woman, who had apparently been sitting by herself for hours near the quarry, jumped headfirst into the open pit below.

The young woman was later identified by her mother who said she had left her at home earlier in the morning. “We had exchanged text messages when I was away and when I returned home and found her phone there I did not suspect anything,” the mother has said.

It was not until she saw a post on The Telegraph Facebook Page that she suspected the victim might be her daughter. The mother’s worst fears were confirmed at Mogoditshane Police Station when it turned out the deceased woman’s clothes matched those of her daughter. Mogoditshane Police Station Commander, Superintendent Russ Letsebe confirmed the incident to The Telegraph.

While all evidence pointed to a suicide Letsebe said they would have to wait for a post mortem to before they can make any conclusions.  

“Everything points to a possible suicide but we are still investigations. It is common for people to leave suicide notes before taking their own lives but it seems the young woman did not leave any clues as to why she would decide to commit sucide,” the Station Commander has told The Telegraph. The quarry in Mogoditshane Block 5 where the young woman has been notorious for several incidents relating to murders, attempted murders, attempted suicides, accidental deaths usually involving children drowning in the ponds, among other incidents. It is not clear who owns the site which remains unfenced. “This is the third incident reported in the three years that I have been here” Letsebe said.

Earlier this year a 12-year-old boy Mothusi Gabobofane, a pupil at Mogoditshane Primary School, drowned in a pond within quarry. At the time the Department of Mines would not respond to an enquiry saying the Public Relations Officer was on Christmas vacation.

Following query, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, dispatched officials to the site.

“There are obligations even if the license expired to ensure rehabilitation of the land and its safety thereof.” Moagi said.

“Our investigations have revealed that the quarry and the area around it are in private ownership. We are still in touch with the Mogoditsane Sub-Land board to identify the new owner. We will contact Quarries of Botswana regarding their obligation. We’re also in dialogue with the area’s MP and councilor as well as the headman to address this issue”, Moagi said at the time.

A standard 6 pupil of Nkoyaphiri Primary school in 2019 was also reported to have drowned in the pit. Some residents told The Telegraph that incidents of drowning at the quarry were added up to five including the one involving the Mogoditshane Primary School pupil. Nkoyaphiri Central Councillor, Bakang Matlho cited growing concern from residents and over the fatalities at the quarry. Minister Moagi said following the latest drowning earlier this year that his ministry had launched an investigation into the matter. The minister revealed that the pit and quarry were licensed to Quarries of Botswana for a period of two years between 2002 and 2004.

The Company upon expiration of the license, as per procedure, fenced off the area around the quarry for safety precautions. However, the fence has since dilapidated as a result of either vandalism or natural causes, rendering the quarry and areas around it unsafe. Member of Parliament for the area Tumiso Rakgare has also visited the site.


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