ANC welcomes 10-year imprisonment on fraud convict Smit

Anyone who hurts the agricultural sector or farmers of Bokone Bophirima province is actually hurting an important part of the province’s livelihood. 

This is the view of the African National Congress (ANC) in the province as it welcomed the prison sentence imposed on Botswana national, Daniel Smit, who has been convicted of defrauding some farmers. 

The Hawks provincial spokesperson in Bokone Bophirima, Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, said the 49-year-old businessman was sentenced to 10 years direct imprisonment by the North West High Court in Mahikeng last Friday.
“Smit started to serve his 10 years imprisonment sentence on Friday after failing to pay back more than R6 million that he defrauded from different farmers around North West. He was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime unit on 26 June 2015, for defrauding farmers of over R6 Million in Coligny, Sannieshof and Lichtenburg by paying for cattle with false cheques that later bounced. 
“On 13 December 2017, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he pays back all the money defrauded from the farmers by 11 January 2018, failing which the full sentence will come into effect,” Rikhotso said.
She further said Smit appeared at the Mmabatho High Court on 29 January 2018 where the matter was postponed until Friday. Rikhotso added that the Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation lauded the investigation team for their job well done.
Smit was initially nabbed along with his wife, Cornelia Elizabeth Steinberg-Smit and granted R50 000 bail each. He pleaded guilty to all charges and that resulted in charges against his wife to be subsequently withdrawn.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson, Frank Lesenyego said: “The accused resides in Botswana, but does business mostly in the North West. Smit defrauded farmers in the North West area as well as a family member, who practises as a medical doctor in Canada.  
“The accused committed the crimes mainly by taking possession of cattle and maize without paying, receiving money to purchase cattle on behalf of complainants and failing to purchase the cattle and failing to return their money.”
Lesenyego said the complainants were Jan le Roux, Gerhard Meyer, Johan Schikerling and Basie Spies.
ANC in Bokone Bophirima welcomed the sentence and said this will send a stern warning to other fraudsters across the country. ANC provincial spokesperson, Gerald Modise, said the Bokone Bophirima province is predominantly rural and 
“most of our people’s livelihoods heavily relies on livestock and farming. We also have agriculture as one of our components to grow the economy, but if you steal from our people then you affect their livelihood.
“We want to commend the justice system for sending this fraudster to jail. We will continue to encourage our provincial government to support our emerging farmers especially blacks to address unemployment, inequality and poverty. Bokone Bophirima Premier, Supra Mahumapelo said there is a need to preserve food security. This understanding is built upon the sustainable livelihoods approach,” Modise said.
Meanwhile, Mahumapelo warned livestock thieves that their days are numbered. He said he is aware of the pain that farmers feel because of people who steal their livestock daily across the province.
“I want to warn people who specialise in stealing the livestock of our hard working farmers. We are going to work more with our police to look for them and make their lives a living in hell because it cannot be business as usual while we know that there are people who have committed themselves to terrorising our farmers without being caught,” Mahumapelo said.