DEPUTY army commander, Major General Matela Matobakele, has been dragged to court by his Lithabaneng, Maseru, neighbour who accuses him of constructing a road in her property without her consent.
The neighbour, ‘Mabafokeng Ntlatlapa, wants the High Court to bar Maj-Gen Matobakele from using the road.
In his answering affidavit, Maj Gen Matobakele denies any wrongdoing. He insists that he did not construct any road in Ms Ntlatlapa’s property. He argues that the road had always been there and he and other Lithabaneng residents in the vicinity had always used it to access the main road.
In her founding affidavit, Ms Ntlatlapa alleges that Maj Gen Matobakele first approached her in December 2021 seeking permission to construct a road through her Lithabaneng property.
Despite failing to reach an agreement, Ms Ntlatlapa, alleges that the top soldier brought a grader into her property and proceeded to construct the road in July.
She says she approached the village chief for intervention, but her efforts were fruitless.
“The applicant sought the intervention of the village chief from 13 July 2022 to date, but her efforts bore no fruits,” Ms Ntlatlapa states.
“The respondent is passing through the applicant’s site as he pleases. As such, the applicant has no other remedy but to apply for an interdict.”
Ms Ntlatlapa wants Maj Gen Matobakele to be “interdicted and restrained from interfering in any manner whatsoever with applicant’s peaceful occupation of site No 1302-879 situated at Lithabaneng above Ralebitso flats”.
She further wants him ordered to pay the costs of the application.
However, Maj Gen Matobakele argues that the High Court does not have jurisdiction to preside over the matter as it raises issues relating to land ownership.
He argues that the District Land Court of Maseru is the proper forum for such a case.
“In the event that this Honourable Court finds that the District Land Court does not have jurisdiction, I am advised that the Magistrate Court for the district of Maseru has originating jurisdiction to entertain the interdict sought,” Maj Gen Matobakele argues.
He also denies any wrongdoing, saying there was already a road on the property before it was sold to Ms Ntlatlapa.
“The applicant got the lease of the plot around 2018 or 2019 and the access road was already in place. I bought and acquired rights and interest in the land next to the applicant’s plot in 1991. My plot is just above the applicant’s and land locked. The only existing road connecting us to the main road ran through the applicant’s plot. This has been the case for over 30 years,” Maj Gen Matobakele states in his court papers.
He said Ms Ntlatlapa’s plot previously belonged to one Maj Gen Phitsoane Ramaema before it was sold to the applicant’s sister who later passed on. Thereafter, it was taken over by the applicant’s brother but he too died.
Maj Gen Matobakele says he never had any problems using the access road when Maj Gen Ramaema owned the land.
“He (Maj Gen Ramaema) had indicated that he would sub-divide the said plot in a manner that does not temper with the existing access road.
“For over 30 years as residents of the place, we have always used the road to access the main road. That access road is used by a number of residents who have plots around that area. I am not the only one who uses it. When the applicant got the lease of the place she never had issues with the road but now she is tempering with our peaceful enjoyment of the road,” he argues.
He says he only brought a grader to repair the road in July 2022 after it was destroyed by heavy rains.
“My neighbours and I contributed money towards the maintenance of the road. I had met with the applicant in December 2021 and informed her of the plan to maintain the road. She did not have a problem with that and agreed that we could go ahead and maintain the road. It took us time to get enough funds to buy materials. It was only in July 2022 when we managed to put everything together. We are therefore, surprised by her application,” Maj Gen Matobakele argues.
He therefore prays that the court conducts an inspection at the property to get a better understanding of the situation.
He further argues that the matter was handled by the Maseru City Council (MCC) and it had ruled that the road in question should not be closed.