Army disputes M70 000 lawsuit

Lesotho Times
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The late High Court judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo


High Court judge, Justice Thamsanqa NomngcongoBrian Chiwanza

THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) says Ramakoae Khakha should have followed military processes before instituting his M70 000 lawsuit in the High Court.

LDF member Khakha from Lithabaneng is suing his employer because of the assault and torture he allegedly suffered at the hands of his senior three years ago.

He claims the abuse took place during a parade at Makoanyane Barracks and is demanding M50 000 for pain and suffering, M15 000 for loss of amenities and M5000 for medical expenses.

The case, first heard on 7 August 2013, was supposed to be heard by Justice Thamsanq Nomngcongo on Monday but the judge postponed the matter indefinitely because both counsel were not ready to proceed with the matter.

Second Lieutenant Tau, the LDF and Attorney General are cited as first to third respondents respectively.

Khakha submitted in his papers he could not attend a parade on 10 January 2012 because he was not feeling well. He further claims the following day, he was on light duty due to the medication he was now taking when Second Lieutenant Tau asked why he had not attended parade the previous day.

“I was ordered to roll on the ground as a form of punishment and I complied. In the process of rolling, I was being kicked all over the body. The assault continued despite my plea for it to stop. I then began bleeding from the nose and the assault stopped for a while,” Khakha notes in his court documents, adding however, the alleged abuse later continued when he was ordered to run around the soccer pitch.

However, the LDF is arguing Khakha did not follow due process when he decided to sue his employer, and also says Second Lieutenant Tau was not at Makoanyane Barracks on the day of the alleged torture.

“The matter was brought before this court prematurely,” the LDF notes in its court papers. “The plaintiff should have referred the matter to senior officers for redress and only approach this court in the event of failure of an administrative solution to the dispute.”

On the alleged torture, the LDF notes: “On the 10th of January 2012, the first defendant (Second Lieutenant Tau) was on patrol at Oxbow Military Base which started in November 2011 and ended on 25 February 2012.  Second Lieutenant Tau never met Khakha on the said date.”

Khakha is being represented by Advocate Pitso Ntsene, while Ms Loekaoke Mahlape appears for the Crown.



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