Two men from Lesoma village, Oteng Sefanele (27) and Aaron Gadirengwe (39) this week stood trial before Kasane Magistrate’s Court accused for poaching a buffalo and unlawful possession of wildlife trophies respectively. The judgement in the case has been set for next month.
It is alleged that on or about the 15th November 2021, Sefanele who was employed as a security guard at Lesoma quarry acting together with his colleague, Thabiso Komponi (22) with a common purpose, unlawfully killed a buffalo at or near the said quarry.
Sefanele pleaded not guilty to the charge while Komponi has already been convicted and fined P3000 on his own guilty plea.
Sefanele who appeared for trial this week told court he was not involved in the matter as by the time it happened he was asleep. According to him, Komponi had told him that he wanted some buffalo meat and that he was going to use a Grader equipment to kill the animal at a nearby water hole.
Sefanele said Komponi later came back and woke him up to inform him that he completed his mission of killing the buffalo. He noted that after Komponi informed him he went to the scene and was surprised to find the buffalo lying dead near the grader. Sefanele stated that he had no cell phone on him to inform his supervisors about the incident as he knew that killing a buffalo was an offence.
It is alleged that after killing the buffalo the accused persons acted together and offered the animal’s trophy to Thuso Masaka (20) and Meshack Blackie (22) in Lesoma. The trio were then found in possession of a buffalo skin, meat and hoofs by the police.
Gadirengwe pleaded not guilty to the offence while Masaka and Blackie were convicted and fined P3000 each on their guilty plea.
Also appearing for trial this week, Gadirengwe claimed that buffalo happens to be his totem, arguing that there was no how he could have been found in possession of its trophy. He argued that the trophies were only offered to Masaka and Blackie but not him.
Presiding Senior Magistrate Kose Makobo has since ordered Sefanele to file his defence statement on or before the 10th July 2023 and also for Gadirengwe to submit his on or before the 24th July 2023. The prosecution was also ordered to submit theirs on or before the 4th July 2023.
Judgement date for the case has been set for July 27th, 2023.