A ZIMBABWEAN woman who enlisted the services of two of her countrymen to help smuggle her two young children from Zimbabwe into South Africa has been slapped with a wholly suspended 12-month jail term together with her accomplices and ordered to pay P1 000 fine.
BY SILAS NKALA
Mmegi Newspaper reported that Otilia Ngwenya (28) pleaded guilty to the charge of neglect or illegal treatment of children without any reasonable cause when she appeared before Francistown magistrate Amantle Lungisani.
Ngwenya was jointly charged with Lechani Mpofu and Prince Mlalazi after they failed to give satisfactory reasons why Ngwenya’s two minor children were in Botswana without possessing passports or any travel documents.
Lungisani subsequently convicted and sentenced the trio to one year in jail each, which was suspended on condition they do not commit a similar offence within a period of 12 months.
Ngwenya was further fined P1 000 for entering Botswana illegally failure to which she shall spend one year in jail.
Mpofu was also fined P1 000 for entering Botswana through an illegal point of entry.
The fine is payable within a month failure to which he shall spend six months in jail.
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The magistrate also ordered the immigration department to ensure the children are safely deported to Zimbabwe.
In mitigation, Mpofu and Mlalazi pleaded with the court to be lenient when passing sentence saying they acted in compliance with orders from the children’s mother to take them to South Africa where she is based.
The convicts also claimed that they were forced by the dire economic situation in Zimbabwe caused by deposed president Robert Mugabe to traffic their countrymen from Zimbabwe to South Africa.
They said that trafficking was a lucrative business as compared to just sitting and doing nothing.
Inspector Kenneth Edward appeared for the State.