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Accused asks to be separated from co-accused

21 Sep 2023

A Zimbabwean national, Artwell Manyeruke (35) has requested to be separated from his co-accused alleging that they threaten him whenever they see him in prison. 

Manyeruke and two others were arrested at the Ngwasha veterinary gate on 15 August, 2023 for smuggling 40 male Ethiopian citizens using a goods truck on transit from Zambia to South Africa. 

Appearing before the Nata Magistrate, Ms Lesego Lekgwere on Wednesday, Manyukere, being the driver of the truck that was used to transport the 40 people, said he has raised his concerns with prison officers where they are being remanded but no action has been taken hence he feels not safe as constantly the other co-accused persons in the case, Zambian nationals Francis Mutale (46) and Evans Kalulu (35) always threaten him. 

Mutale and Kalulu are second and third accused in the case respectively. He thus pleaded with the court to intervene in the matter for his safety. He added that at the last mention on 7 September, 2023, he was anticipating that they were to be given summary of the case since he has pleaded guilty to the charge and had requested to have a separate case from his co-accused. 

Appearing for the state, prosecutor Themba Amos informed the court that though they had asked at the last mention to be given time to transfer the case to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), they have not managed to do so due to lack of resources. 

However, he said they have started the process and they are confident that by the end of the week they would have completed the process. 

Commenting on the matter, Magistrate Lekgwere asked the lawyer representing the second and third accused persons, Mr Mbinanyi Mizha, to caution his clients for the bad behaviour they are presenting against the first accused. 

She said the concerns raised by the first accused person are administrative and should be addressed by prison officers. Furthermore, the Magistrate said it has been over a month since the accused persons who face a single count of smuggling of persons contrary to Section 12 (1) of the Anti-Human Trafficking have been remanded in custody. 

She urged the prosecution to speed up their processes so that the case can continue. 

She nonetheless said the accused will remain in custody and return to court on September 26, 2023.

Meanwhile, Mizha said they want to make an application to change their plea but delays of transferring the case to the DPP affects his clients. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Goitsemodimo Williams-Madzonga

Location : NATA

Event : Court appearance

Date : 21 Sep 2023