A 40-year-old Molepolole man who refilled a grave with soil and obstructed burial has been sentenced to two years in jail.
Bathusi Mothusiotsile was slapped with a prison sentence after he had failed to produce a Landboard certificate to prove that the piece of land where he unlawfully stopped a burial procession belonged to him as he claimed.
Giving a testimony before Bakwena Paramount Chief Kgari Sechele III at Molepolole customary court last week Friday, a village elder, Diphatsa Keitseng, 88 said he consulted former Chief, Kgosikwena Sebele to ask for the burial of one Lekgotla Poitshego commonly known as “Makholosekopo” to be conducted at the newly opened Bakwena graveyards.
“I went to show the deceased’s family the place where they were to bury him and the men went to dig the grave. Later at night I got a report that Elliot claiming the place was his attacked the gravediggers. We then reported the matter the police,” said Keitseng.
Keitseng continued to tell the court that in the morning when he went to check the gravediggers he was perplexed to find the grave refilled with dirt and the gravediggers gone.
In his defence, Elliot said he was shocked to find an open grave behind his place.
“I covered it, because although we do not have documents to prove that the place belongs to my late father, it is our land. I heard allegations that one Bagwasi Mothusiotsile was paid P100.00 for the place to be repossessed by the government,”a visibly angry Elliot lashed out and went on to claim that the entire neighbhourhood could vouch for him that he owned the land.
His one witness Bagwasi Mothusiotsile (87), however denied knowing about Elliot’s ownership of the land and instead confirmed that he knew that the plot was allocated as the new graveyard by Landboard.
Investigating officer, Sergeant Mareko Babedi secured a conviction for Elliot by producing a lease agreement in court to prove that the plot was indeed allocated to Kweneng District Council as a graveyard on March 3rd, 2017.
Corroborating Babedi’s evidence, the prosecutor Constable Mosadinyana Keatlaretse said, “The accused did not follow appropriate procedure to own the plot claiming to be his. He was just there to disturb a funeral,” she explained.
When given chance to mitigate, Elliot, still boiling with anger told his relatives not to worry because he was ready to appeal the prison sentence and he was sure the judgment would be overturned to set him free.
“ The land board authorities discussed the issue with Suping leadership and we know very well as Bakwena that the place have been allocated as graveyards