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Butcher and wife in court for stock theft

SIDE BY SIDE: The Gaogopolwes in court
SIDE BY SIDE: The Gaogopolwes in court

A butcher and his wife have their heads on the chopping block after they were unable to account for the carcasses of two cows found in their possession.

The married couple, 52-year-old Ditshotlego Gaogopolwe and Setshego Gaogopolwe, 43, who run Digamaje Butchery in Mmankgodi, are on trial for stock theft for an incident that happened over three years ago.

It is suspected the pair may have partly been operating their business with the meat from stolen cattle.

Appearing before Molepolole Magistrates Court last Tuesday, it was heard that, acting on a tip-off, the cops raided the Gaogopolwes’ business premises on 28 June 2018.

Officers reportedly found three carcasses inside the butchery’s cold room, with the duo only able to produce a receipt for one of the dead animals.

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Giving evidence during the trial, one of the witnesses, Thato Hector, 27, told court that sometime in March 2018, Ditshotlego came to his place looking for a house to rent.

“He was accompanied by another man, and they claimed to own a construction company. The police called me to go and witness while they were searching inside the accused rented house. In the house there were two deep freezers in the kitchen and one deep freezer in the sitting room, they all had a lot of meat,” testified Hector.

She further revealed that despite Ditshotlego telling her he needed the house for living in, there was nothing else inside apart from the full freezers.

Hector also said her suspicions were aroused by two Honda Fit cars which were frequently spotted travelling to and from the rented accommodation.

Testifying against her former employers, 34-year-old Pako Ditso Motlhako revealed that the day before the raid, he offloaded a carcass from a vehicle usually used to transport meat from the abattoir.

“The meat was earlier detected with Measles. It was therefore taken to Molepolole and brought back on 27 June 2018. The meat from the abattoir was usually transported by one Tiro and it usually had an official stamp for the abattoir and council,” explained the ex Digamaje Butchery worker.

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The following day, two more carcasses arrived, this time ferried by a black Honda Fit and not the usual refrigerated vehicle.

It was heard that only one of the cows had the proper stamps with the other two lacking any official documents.

Currently out on bail, the Nogeng ward natives will appear for continuation of trial on 18 October.

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