Gold dreams turn to dust

Christinah Motlhabane
JAILED: Dawu and Nkomo await the police van

Two Zimbabwean men who snuck into the country dreaming of gold and riches have instead found themselves P1, 000 poorer after being fined for illegal mining.

The hit to the wallet is the least of Bhekimpilo Dawu and Thembani Nkomo’s problems, however, as they were also slapped with an eight months prison sentence for being in Botswana unlawfully.

The pair were busted just after midnight on May,04th caught by the boys in blue digging for treasure at the abandoned Old Rainbow Mine on the outskirts of Matsiloje.

Dawu, 36, and his countryman, Nkomo, 23, pleaded guilty to both charges, telling Francistown Magistrates Court they were driven underground by desperation and the need to provide for their families back home.

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Their tale of woe was not enough to keep them out of jail, with the Magistrate warning they would serve an extra three months should they fail to pay the one grand fine.

There was some good news for the foreigners, as court ruled the sentence would be backdated to the time of their arrest in May.

It means the duo should be back in Zim in time to celebrate the New Year, providing they stump up the money.

Despite this seemingly soft sentence, Dawu admitted he wanted more, telling court he had his hopes set on a suspended sentence, insisting he already suffered greatly as he was assaulted during his arrest.

“My worship, I thought today I will be set free because I am in pain. Or I should take my matter to the High Court,” he asked, to which Magistrate, Thapelo Buang advised him to liaise with the prison officials.

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Meanwhile, Matsiloje Station Commander, Charles Mbengwa told The Voice, ‘zama zamas’ were becoming a big problem in the area.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have arrested 16 illegal miners in Matsiloje jurisdiction only. They get in the country in large numbers through different entries. Batswana are working with them as they offer them accommodation and transport them with their gold when they go back to their country,” revealed Superintendent, Mbengwa.

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