Pheello Mosesi & Tšepang Pheello
Prominent taxi owner from Kolonyama in the Leribe district, Tšeliso Sekhoacha arrested on charges of car theft.
He appeared before the Leribe’s Magistrate Court on August 15 accused of car theft and was released on bail of M500.
“He will reappear in court again on August 29,” Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, Police spokesperson said.
“Reports show that a Toyota Quantum minibus popularly known taxies was violently snatched during a hijack incident at Kakgisong in South Africa from its owner back in May.
“The car was located and recovered in Lesotho through the use of Tracker,” Mopeli described.
When speaking with Newsday police spokesperson Mpiti Mopeli refused to comment whether it was Sekhoacha’s first car theft crime.
“I am unable to comment on whether he has been previously arrested for the same crime. According to laws we operate under, a person is charged by a crime they are found to have committed at the time,” he said.
Mopeli could not reveal statistics of car theft between the two countries.
Spokesperson for the Maseru Regional Transport Association Lebohang Moea when asked to comment on the theft issue and its impact on the taxi industry quickly dismissed this paper saying he knowns nothing of the crimes and was in a meeting
“I have not heard of any reports therefore I will not comment. I can’t about something I haven’t heard of. I am in a meeting in Pretoria at the moment,” he charged then dropped his line.
Bochabela Taxi Operators spokesperson Limema Phohla in a separate interview with Newsday indicated that there is no formal report filed in their organisation, but confirmed of having heard the reports.
“I have not heard this incident as a reported case within the association, but I heard it from the media and rumours, thus I can’t emphasise or even give a thorough comment until the organisation has done its investigations.”
He however confirmed that there a lot of stolen taxis operating in the country.
“It is a popular thing so much that even high profile people in the current government own stolen taxies,” he said refusing to mention names in fear of his life.
“When there is sting operation in collaborations with the Scorpion police, we see a lot of taxies not working in fear of arrests because they are stolen cars. This is an open secret that most local taxies are operating yet stolen,” he said.
He indicated that car theft in relations to the taxi industry damages their industry.
“This pushes people to perceive taxi owners as criminals and felonies. It also opens a channel for one to steal a car and implicate taxi owners so as to prove the criminal attachments.
“There is a need to stop criminal acts under the umbrella of taxi operation so as to reinforce trust among Basotho to know that they are rightful owners of their taxies,” Phohla noted.
Attempts to get hold of Sekhoacha were not fruitful until the paper went to print.