“ACTING” All Basotho Convention (ABC) “leader”, Professor Nqosa Mahao and his four allies will have to wait longer to know whether or not their court application challenging their expulsions from the ABC by party leader and Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, succeeds.
This after High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monapathi, this week postponed the case to 7 October 2019 to allow Dr Thabane’s lawyers to file more affidavits to support their case.
Justice Monapathi postponed the case after one of Dr Thabane’s lawyers, Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane, asked for leave to file more affidavits “in order to address other issues before arguing the main case”. Adv Setlojoane did not specify the “other issues” he needed to address. His request was however, described as a delaying tactic by the Mahao faction lawyer, Advocate Mabatṧoeneng Hlaele.
Incidentally, Adv Hlaele is Dr Thabane’s daughter and wife of one of the applicants, “expelled” ABC secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele.
Just when it appeared the much-delayed case would finally get underway on Monday, Adv Setlojoane pleaded with Justice Monapathi to “grant us the opportunity to file more affidavits as there are issues which we need to address before arguing the main case”.
On her part, Adv Hlaele told the court although they would not oppose the request, they believed that Dr Thabane was employing delaying tactics. She said they stood ready to argue the case to finality and they would still do so come Monday 7 October 2019.
“The defendants are trying everything not to have the case heard by coming up with all delaying tactics. Even if they are granted leave, we will not oppose them because they will not add any value to their case. We propose that the case be heard next Monday (7 October 2019) and they should come prepared to argue the main case,” Adv Hlaele said.
Justice Monaphathi then postponed the matter to 7 October 2019 and said he “will hear everything on that day”. He further extended the interim order blocking the 17 June 2019 “expulsions” of Prof Mahao and his four allies to 7 October 2019.
Prof Mahao’s co-applicants are fellow ABC’s NEC members, Lebohang Hlaele (secretary general), Samuel Rapapa (chairperson), Montoeli Masoetsa (spokesperson) and ‘Matebatso Doti (deputy spokesperson).
They filed the application on 20 August 2019 challenging Dr Thabane’s decision to “expel” them from the party on 17 June 2019.
The respondents are Dr Thabane, the ABC, the ABC’s NEC, Dr Moeketsi Majoro (who was appointed in August 2019 by Dr Thabane to replace Prof Mahao), Kemiso Mosenene (who was appointed chairperson in place of Mr Rapapa), Sentle Rabale (who was appointed spokesperson in place of Mr Masoetsa) and Joel Mohale who was appointed deputy spokesperson in place of Ms Doti.
Dr Thabane had made the four appointments with effect from 9 August 2019. He however, did not fill the secretary general’s post made “vacant” by the “expulsion” of Mr Hlalele, saying he would do so in due course. Monday’s postponement of the case to 7 October 2019 and the extension of the interim order, means that Dr Thabane’s appointments of Dr Majoro and others remain invalid, at least for now.