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Two for the cane, one for prison

JAILED: Keolebile escaped the cane but not the cells


Three thirsty Thamaga thieves who stole P1, 512 worth of booze received a painful taste of justice on Tuesday when two were sentenced to six strokes of the cane.

Although his bottom was spared a thrashing, 22-year-old Kagiso Keolebile’s punishment was slightly hotter.

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Instead, Molepolole Magistrates Court saw it fit to send the convicted thief to prison for three years.

Keolebile was handed a stiffer sentence because he was a second-time offender, having been convicted of theft in April.

Despite receiving a two-year suspended jail term and five strokes of the cane, Keolebile failed to learn his lesson.

Just four months later, on August 30, the unremorseful man, this time accompanied by 23-year-old Thabo Ralebekwa and Lorato Mmereki, 22, broke into Sego bar in Thamaga village.

The trio helped themselves to numerous bottles of alcohol – including Castle Lite, Black label and Hunters Gold – making off with their loot as the sun was rising.

However, they didn’t get far and were later arrested by the police with assistance from Security Systems personnel.

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The three subsequently led the cops to the river, where they had buried the stolen beer.

The liquor, the pick-axe they dug their hole with and the iron crowbar used to break into the bar were all exhibited before court.

When sentencing the thieves this week, Chief Magistrate Goabaone Rammapudi ruefully noted that crime was on the rise in Thamaga.

Determined to make an example of the three, Rammapudi said, “The court is concerned that there was damage of property and valuable property being alcohol. The accused acted out of selfishness being lazy people who rely on other people’s sweat. “A strong message has to be sent to the youth. I am also concerned that they are the notorious gangsters from Thamaga and the court shall deal with them harshly to rebuke such crimes.”

Turning her attention to the re-offending Keolebile, the no-nonsense Magistrate said, “Within four-months time he committed a similar crime which informs the court about his character that it’s unrepentant. The other accused, Ralebekwa and Mmereki, are first offenders and they still have room to repent.”

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Keolebile will spend the next three years of his life in prison while the other two received six lashes and 18 months wholly suspended for two years on condition they do not commit a similar offence.

They will do well to learn from Keolebile’s mistake!

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