Monday, May 16, 2022

Ramatlabama’s 39 rioters released on bail

About 39 suspects who were arrested after closing down the Ramatlabama border post a week ago appeared before the Lobatse Magistrate Court under full police escort.

After spending two nights in police cells, the 39 suspects mainly those involved in the ongoing industrial strike, were charged by the Directorate of Public Prosecution with one single count of rioting.

In a fully-packed court, Dumisane Maropo of the DPP told the court that it was a fresh matter and investigations were still ongoing, adding that more people were expected to be arrested and the charges were also likely to increase.

Maropo said the plea should be reserved until the police completed their investigations.
The defense lawyer, Kole Kole, told the court that the DPP should provide them with statements so that he could advise his clients accordingly.

The presiding magistrate, Masilo Matlhaka, told the suspects that they should individually report once a month to the nearest police station.

Their next mention will be next month.

The arrests came after the protestors barricaded the border post with huge stones and dustbins.
However, about five suspects, charged with three counts of breaching of peace, were thrown out by magistrate Moorgate Odirile.

According to the charge sheet, the five accused persons on the 6th of June 2011 entered Goodhope Secondary School armed with sticks and knobkerries and threatened the kitchen staff, forcing them to join them in the public service strike.

Meanwhile, the Officer Commanding in Lobatse, Senior Superintendent Oreneetse Mogapaesi, said his investigators are out in the field, investigating the matter.

“Yes, we are hopeful that we will arrest more suspects and they will also be appearing before the court of law,” she said.

The suspects were arrested last week after they closed down the Ramatlabama border post.
Police had to fire warning shots in the air to disperse them before arresting them.

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