Taking the blame

Christinah Motlhabane
IN THE HOT SEAT: Khumalo and Dube outside court

Elephant tusk suspect clears nephew’s name

“The tusk is mine; I plead guilty to this offence. This boy does not know anything. I am the one who came with the tusk. We just met in town so I can buy children’s shoes!” maintained the middle-aged Zimbabwean woman.

Nokuthula Sithembile Khumalo, 37, and her nephew, Gilbert Tasiiwa Dube, 22, caused quite the scene in Francistown on Saturday afternoon, when undercover cops pounced on the pair at Nswazwi Mall near Chicken Licken.

They were caught with a single elephant tusk, which eye-witnesses described as ‘huge’. To add to her predicament, during interrogation, the police discovered Khumalo was in the country illegally.

Appearing before the Magistrates Court on Tuesday, the older woman immediately looked to protect her young relative, insisting he was completely innocent and should be acquitted.

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Although plea was reserved, she took sole responsibility for possessing the elephant tusk.

Dube was in total agreement, telling court, “I saw her carrying a sack and I did not know what was in it. I only got to see the tusk when the police arrested us.”

Displaying a glimmer of a smile for the first time in four days, Dube, who is a Motswana citizen, was granted bail on the condition he binds himself to P2, 000.

Deemed a flight-risk after she admitted border jumping, Khumalo, was not so lucky, with the Magistrate seeing fit to remand her in custody.

Both will be back in court on 25th July.

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