Case against men who operated illegal initiation school postponed

A case against Piet Tlotleng and Keotshepile Ntate, the men who operated an illegal initiation school in Mahikeng, North West was postponed to September 12 for further investigation.

The accused, charged with contravening the Customs Initiation Act of 2021, appeared in the Molopo magistrate’s court on Wednesday. They were granted R1 500 bail.

According to police, the accused were arrested on June 29 after a number of parents rocked up at Mahikeng police station to report their children as missing.

Henry Mamothame, regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said: “Investigations led the police to an illegal initiation school between Ramatlabama and Tsetse villages outside Mahikeng.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the two suspects mobilised unsuspecting young boys from villages around Mahikeng to join the initiation school.

“After recruiting these young boys, they would allegedly call the parents and demand money for the safe return of their children.

“Consequently, about 41 initiates between the ages of 15 and 20 were rescued and the illegal school was closed. The boys were taken to the hospital for medical care.”

In a separate incident, 24-year-old Bongani Moatlhodi was arrested at Lonely Park by Lehurutshe police.

Mamothame shared: “He appeared at Lehurutshe magistrates’ court on July 10 in connection with the kidnapping of a 16-year-old boy who was taken to an illegal initiation school at Lonely Park in Mafikeng.”

Moatlhodi appeared in the Lehurutshe magistrate’s court on Wednesday and the matter was postponed to July 17 for a bail application hearing.


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Shona Buhr

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