- Police failed to act promptly
- Could not source trackers, choppers from sister agencies
There is a general feeling that had the police acted promptly and engaged more stakeholders in the search of Maun businessman, Sipho Ndaba who went missing and was found dead four days later, the deceased could have been saved.
The incident also exposed the glaring lack of coordination between government departments in Maun, and that the work is in silos.
Another worry is that while the BDF in Maun has helicopters, department of wildlife with trackers, the police opted to source a police chopper from Francistown (which only arrived on Tuesday) and never bothered to request for use of trackers.
A family member Ndibobathu Mosimanegape has aired her disappointment over the police failure to save Ndaba as she believes that had the police treated the matter with the urgency it deserved, they could have reached him whilst still alive.
Mosimanegape narrated that they filed the missing person report with the Maun Police Station on Saturday morning, after it became apparent that he did not reach home the previous day.
She said the police were reluctant to initiate the necessary measures to commence the search considering the sensitivity of the deceased person’s age (67 years old) and that he was under medication.
“We reported to the police and we told them that the missing person was diagnosed with dementia, diabetes and high blood pressure so we thought the police could have considered that and prioritised the case,” she noted.
She indicated that the police were clearly told by the deceased’s family on Saturday morning that the deceased had the problem of forgetfulness due to dementia which could be the reasons he did not get back home.
To their disappointment, Mosimanegape revealed that the police only started organising for deceased’s search the following day (Sunday) after they had visited their office again requesting for an update on the matter.
Together with the family members, the police started the search locally, asking friends and close neighbors on Ndaba’s whereabouts until in the afternoon of the same day when one of the Facebook users replied to a post by the deceased daughter informing that his car was seen in a gravel road between Shorobe and Mawana gate.
She further narrated that they then quickly rushed to the scene where upon arrival around 9 pm at night the car was confirmed to be that of the deceased. This she said gave them hope that the deceased could possibly be around that vicinity and they then informed the police.
The police officers went to the site that night, and decided that since it was late, a search party would start early Monday morning.
Mosimanegape said on Monday, a small team comprising mainly of special constables was deployed to start the search, without trackers, no helicopter and only reached the site after mid-day. They could not find the missing person and had to go back to Maun.
It was only on Tuesday, that the police intensified the search as it now involved an experienced ground search party and an air support one by a police helicopter which came from Francistown that the deceased’s body was found.
Maun Police Station Commander Superintendent Chenamo Orateng was this week at pains to explain why they could not deploy all the needed resources immediately for the search.
When asked about the delay in providing the necessary resources for the search, Orateng replied that they do not have enough resources in Maun especially choppers which are only sourced from Francistown and Gaborone.
He acknowledged that they do have trackers with other departments in Maun.
“In this case it was not easy in the beginning, as we were not aware to where the deceased could have gone at that time therefore we took the whole day looking around and asking if anyone had seen him in Maun. Though we received a call from someone who saw the car, it was late for us to continue with the search because there was no light and a chopper,” he responded.