This while the alleged incident is still under investigation. The four suspects were arrested on Monday afternoon, 15 April, after HOD Poncho Mokaila’s office burned to the ground that same day. They briefly appeared in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court two days after they were apprehended. Police spokesperson, Lesedi Dingoko, tells OFM News while the fire did not spread to other offices, nine people working at the Agri centre had to be treated for smoke inhalation. He did not elaborate on reasons why the suspects may have burned the HOD’s office.
According to Dingonko, the suspects walked into the Agri Centre on Monday at around 16:00. They informed security that they had a meeting with the HOD, Poncho Mokaila. Shortly after they proceeded into the building, security was alerted by the employees at the centre that Mokaila’s office was on fire. The accused will reappear in the Mmabatho Magistrate's Court next week Thursday, April 25.
The Department last came in the spotlight in 2018, when the then MEC of Agriculture, Manketsi Tlhape, was axed by Premier Job Mokgoro. This after she was implicated in Supra Mahumapelo's gifting of cattle worth R1.5 million, while he was still Premier to then president Jacob Zuma. It was alleged that the cattle were paid for using public funds and were meant to help emerging farmers in the province.