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Beware: Rapists on the prowl

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There was a sigh of relief in Tlokweng last week when news broke out that two Zimbabwean nationals Progressive Ndlovu and Nfakazi Ndlovu were arrested.

This followed a spate of rape and robbery incidents that had bedeviled the village for some time, with the rape incidents following a similar pattern. Initially, they were three; but their fellow Zimbabwean friend only known as Lloyd, managed to escape from the police through an ungazetted area near Tlokweng border where they were caught around 12 noon.

Police say Lloyd is very dangerous, and along with Nfakazi, 30, he has a record of rape and robbery cases dating back to 2016. The trio were caught with money and stolen goods all valued at P22, 000. According to Police Assistant Commissioner Spokesperson, Dipheko Motube, the police received reports last week Wednesday from their victims in the morning. They had broken into a house and raped two women in front of their mother. They would later make away with their laptops, watches and cellphones among other valuables.

At the CID offices

Crime Intelligence boss, Senior Assistant Commissioner Nunu Lesetedi and his team had their work cut out, move from one place to the other in their quest to help the rape victims. Lesetedi explained that the trio entered the house of their victims around 3am, tied them up, raped them, took their bank cards and went to cash their money at a nearby ATM machine. Various people that said they had been raped and robbed by the duo before, were also there to identify them and their missing goods. It was a tense moment.

Nfakazi could not come for mention at Extension II Magistrate court at 3pm, as he was said to be ill and had been taken to Princess Marina hospital to see a doctor. A woman and her partner arrived in a classy Mercedes Benz, and from her overflowing tears, one could see she was one of the victims from previous incidents. CID officers gathered around the couple and after a while, the couple went to a car surrounded by other CID officers. There, inside, was Progressive, and the emotional woman identified him as the perpetrator of her heart-rending incident.

The broken woman was raped in front of her man, with the perpetrators throwing shades at the man regarding their good sex skills. “They asked him how he felt watching them having sex with his woman and used demeaning language to hurt him,” said Lesetedi. Progressive, 31, appeared for mention before Magistrate Batho Kgerethwa and was taken to prison. However, he said he wanted to go and inform his family back home as they could maybe hire a lawyer for him. Nfakazi appeared the next day on Thursday.

The two will appear for mention on April 24. On the same date, Nfakazi will be sentenced for his previous crimes. “He escaped prison at the time of sentencing,” said Assistant Commissioner Motube. It was also stated that the accused had nowhere to stay in Botswana, and lives in Hillbrow, South Africa. Information reaching this publication is that they live with a Nigerian in South Africa, who is equally a criminal involved in drugs and money peddling.

How they break into houses and attack

A man whose two helpers were raped by the trio in January told The Midweek Sun that they went through his neighbour’s yard and cut his electric fence. It was around 2am when he got the shock of his life. “They came dragging our two maids from downstairs, and went and tied them up with iron cables, then they used my suit ties and ensured that both my legs and hands were tied up.

They also tied my wife,” he said, adding that they threatened them with knives. Another victim said that she was shocked as to how the accused men managed to enter their electric-fenced yard, which even has an alarm and burglar bars around and main doors. “They threatened me with knives and axes and raped me, demanded my bank cards and PINs, and went and cashed close to P20 000,” she said, adding that her neighbour had also become a victim recently. Motube says that criminals break into a house and do not care whether the security is tight or not. “They always know how to enter into people’s yards and houses. They are not even afraid of dogs. Actually, in other countries, they can even attack armed soldiers,” he said.

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Three months more

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INTERCHANGE WORKS: Work at the Boatle Interchange continues as the entire project nears completion set for April

Following numerous postponements, the dual carriageway between Game City in Gaborone and Boatle near Ramotswa will be opened for full use in April this year. Currently motorists are using the newly-constructed half of the four-lane stretch as work on rehabilitating and reconstructing the old side that will form the western carriageway continues.

Construction of the eastern plane of the Boatle interchange and bridges at Tloane and Metsimaswaane rivers has been completed and the entire eastern carriageway from Gaborone to Boatle is open for traffic.

The department of transport recently released a media statement confirming that completion of the road was at 77 percent and that the hope is that it will be fully completed by April 2019.
This will come as music to the ears of travellers who have been frustrated by the seemingly endless construction on the road and the slow movement of traffic particularly during peak hours just before and after working hours. The department has however cautioned that drivers should still remain vigilant, drive carefully and obey road signs.

Meanwhile, some motorists have complained that construction of the road has taken too long and that there is little order on the road. “These people are way behind schedule and we can’t see what they are doing. Also, there is no order on the road. Once you get to the side of Mokolodi, traffic comes to a complete standstill. They should try and push work at slow hours and not at peak hour,” said Mmoloki Obuditswe, who commutes between Lobatse and Gaborone daily.

He however expressed hope that traffic would ease near the Boatle junction as cars headed to Ramotswa would break off easily without delaying those headed for Lobatse. “The cars going to Ramotswa used to cause a headache because they are so many and the road was thin and in a bad state,” he said.

Another motorist, Kutlwano Seemo noted that while the opening of the road was a welcome development that shows progress, it would have been great if the dual carriageway went all the way to Lobatse.

“They should have fixed the whole A1 road and not a brief stretch. This road is terrible and it continues to claim many lives. Traffic has increased so we need wider and more sophisticated roads. I hope government prioritises investing in road infrastructure because we honestly don’t have good roads. Maybe this Boatle road will be a start.”

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U=U campaign packaging a headache for BHP, Ministry

Rachel Raditsebe

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TRICKY AFFAIR: Dr Joseph Makhema is still cautious on the matter of declaring the Undetectable to be Untransmittable

While there is no denying the proven science that an HIV positive person whose HIV viral load cannot be detected cannot transmit it to an HIV negative person, it is how that message is packaged and delivered to the public that is proving to be a difficulty.

This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) Dr Joseph Makhema.Internationally, the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, has gained ground as scientific consensus has united around the concept that being undetectable means being unable to transmit HIV. The campaign has been endorsed by more than 350 HIV organisations from 34 countries, including leading scientific and medical organisations such as the International AIDS Society (IAS), UNAIDS, and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).

By taking HIV treatment consistently and on time, the HIV virus in the blood (also known as viral load) and other bodily fluids gets to undetectable levels. The drugs work by controlling the replication of HIV in the body by reducing the virus’ ability to make copies of itself.

“The drugs slow down the damage that the virus does to the immune system and allow people to live long, productive lives like everyone else without succumbing to the disease. These drugs are tremendously valuable in giving an excellent quality of life and preventing HIV transmission. There is absolutely no doubt that HIV treatment has revolutionised AIDS,” Dr Makhema explained.

However, he said for now BHP and the Health Ministry are still looking at the context and messaging of U=U and how to package it for the public. This, he explained is because, there are situations whether of illness, for example if someone has flu, they can get an exacerbation of viral rebound.

Or somebody gets a gastro intestinal disorder and they have diarrhoea or vomiting, they cannot keep the medication in their system. This would mean they are not fully able to keep the virus fully supressed and they can rebound.

“So we really don’t know at this point in time, we really need to have research done so that we are able to know how we are going to package and share the U=U messaging with the general public,” stated Dr Makhema.

According to Dr Makhema, the only time he would ever give anyone the go ahead to have unprotected sex is only if there was a test where before each sexual act, a person can check their viral load.
Until then he insists on condom use even with the other HIV prevention tools currently available like Safe Male Circumcision and more recently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

“While we have got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic, it’s important how we package that information so that our people really understand how they work,” Dr Makhema said.

Citing the condom as an example, Dr Makhema said that new infections are still high even though condoms are cheap, readily available and have been proven to be over 99 percent effective if used correctly at not only preventing HIV infection but also other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Overall, Dr Makhema said there was need for clear guidance on how individuals should be advised on using “treatment as prevention” as a safer sex option and this should be combined with renewed efforts to encourage condom use.

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