*11-year-old ‘mango thief’ allegedly tied to tree and beaten
*Youngster accuses ‘attackers’ of setting Pit Bull loose on him
Former Speaker of the National Assembly and ex-Tonota Member of Parliament Pono Moathodi, 69, together with his neighbor, Maranyane Kebitseng, 67, will appear in court on two counts of Assault occasioning and Actual bodily harm.
The men are accused of torturing 11-year-old Orapeleng Mesiah, a Standard Five student at Madisakwane Primary in Tonota, who they accused of stealing mangos.
The duo are said to have tied the boy to a tree in Kebitseng’s yard, before beating him with a belt and then setting Kebitseng’s dog loose on him.
Speaking to The Voice, Tonota Police Station Commander Superintendent, Ontibile Motadiile confirmed that Moathodi and Kebitsang were being investigated over Mesiah’s injuries.
“We have done our investigations and the two have been duly charged. The matter should be going to court soon,” he said, adding the incident took place on Sunday afternoon at Seroto ward and was reported later that evening.
“The boy has serious injuries on the body, allegedly from dog bites,” Motadiile further disclosed.
The distraught youngster’s aunt, Kebonye Mesiah, 32, told The Voice that Moathodi, who was commonly referred to as ‘Triple P’ during his time in power, came to her house and ‘snatched’ her nephew from her.
“He gave Orapeleng a few hot claps and bungled him into a car, which was driven by Kebitsang. He was in the canopy with the boy and they proceeded to Kebitsang’s house where I learnt they tied him to a tree, beat him up and set a Pit Bull on him,” she said.
According to Mesiah, Moathodi told her they caught her nephew jumping over Kebitseng’s wall carrying what they suspect was mangoes.
“He told me he chased the boy, who was on a bicycle, with his car but gave up when he went into the bush,” she said.
A fuming Mesiah told The Voice that an hour after ‘taking’ Orapeleng, the two men returned with her now bloody and weeping nephew.
“I refused to accept him because when they took him from me he was not bloody. I wondered what they had done to him. I suggested that they should call the boy’s mother because I was not going to accept him in the condition he was in,” she explained, adding animatedly, “They then left.”
Another of the boy’s aunties, Khumoyame Mesiah said the duo then came to her yard to hand over Orapeleng.
“I also flatly refused to receive him and told them we should go to the police because he was in a bad state.
“What kind of a human being chases down an 11-year-old with a car and then sets a dog on him?” Khumoyame demanded angrily.
The boy’s emotional mother was overcome with anger and referred all questions to her sisters. However, she agreed that her son could be interviewed.
“When we got to the yard, they tied me to a tree and Kebitseng took out his belt and whipped me repeatedly,” narrated the teary-eyed boy, displaying apparent teeth marks on his thigh and slight scars on his upper torso.
He claimed Kebitsang’s wife then untied the dog, which he said wasted no time in plunging its teeth into his tender flesh.
“She then held it back and also took her turn to beat me,” he continued nervously, his voice barely rising above a whisper.
When reached for comment, Moathodi did not take kindly to the accusations.
“You can write whatever you want, but be prepared to pay me P1million. I’m warning you! I’ve never been involved with anyone’s dogs. I have my own dogs, write whatever you want but my brother be prepared to pay me P1million,” he repeated.
Nevertheless, after his initial outburst, Moathodi called The Voice back and said he was speaking on behalf of both himself and Kebitsang.
“This matter is still under investigation. We have resolved as a family with the persuasion of the police to meet the Messiah family to find an amicable solution to this matter. We are civilized people, we are parents and not trying to impress anyone,” he said.
The Station Commander was however not happy with Moathodi’s assertion and told The Voice that they are going ahead with the matter.
“We are just waiting for his wounds to heal and we are going to court. The law is clear when it comes to protection of the child. I can never be party to such an arrangement when I clearly know what the law says,” stressed Motladiile.