Two Francistown single mothers who were caught stealing heaved a sigh of relief after escaping prison by a whisker.
“We do not have criminal blood in our body,” They said.
The duo said they were coerced into committing the offense because of the financial challenges they face on a daily basis.
25-year-old Shelter Kgalemang and her partner in crime Patricia Thobogang (46) appeared before Magistrate Sijabuliso Sibiza in Francistown accused of stealing hardware goods worth P4 095.
Kgalemang was employed as a security guard while Thobogang worked as a cleaner at a local company.
Francistown magistrate’s courts proved that on April 23, the two connived to steal the goods.
They did not waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty to the charges.
Although Magistrate Siziba said suffering never justifies crime, he could not send the two to prison.
He said imposing a custodial sentence on the duo would be a drastic way of punishing them bearing in mind their financial burden.
The magistrate could neither impose a fine on them. He said in a case in which a convict is facing serious financial burdens, a suspended sentence is a deterrent.
At the end the convicts were sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence on condition that they did not commit a similar offense over a period of two years.
Kgalemang said she turned to crime because life was proving to be tough.
The P1 200 salary she gets at the end of every month is too little to cover her financial needs as a single mother, she explained.
“I had no choice but to resort to stealing,” She said.
Thobogang has a blind father to take care of after her mother passed away a couple of years ago.
She is also a mother of two.
“But how do I manage all this expenditure with a P800 salary,” she said, tears flowing down her cheeks.
She and her children as well as all those under her care were at God’s mercy for survival, she lamented.