THE Constitutional Court has postponed to 15 July 2019 the case in which the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) and two others are challenging the processes that are expected to culminate in the appointment of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) commissioners.
The Constitutional Court bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice, ‘Maseforo Mahase, Lebohang Molete and Keketso Moahloli sat yesterday and also extended the interim interdict barring the Council of State and His Majesty King Letsie III from making the appointments to 15 July.
The matter was first heard last Thursday by High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monapathi who issued the interim interdict and set yesterday as the date which the case should be heard by the Constitutional Court. Yesterday, the matter was deliberated on in the judges’ chambers and according to one of the applicants’ lawyers, Advocate Christopher Lephuthing, it was postponed to 15 July.
“The matter has been postponed to 15 July for the respondents to be able to file their answering affidavits and the interim interdict (barring the appointments from being made) has also been extended to that date,” Adv Lephuthing said.
“We have been asked to serve our papers to all the 63 respondents and our greatest worry is that most of the parties do not have offices where we can serve the papers.”
The applicants are the TRC, unsuccessful IEC hopeful Maieane Khaketla and the African Ark which is one of the political parties that was involved in the processes to recruit and appoint new commissioners. (See story on page 2).
The Council of State, His Majesty King Letsie III, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Affairs (DCEO), the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Workplace Solutions, the IEC and Attorney General are cited as 1st to 7th respondents, respectively.
Thirty one political parties that are registered with the IEC are cited as 8th to 38th respondents while Seabata Motsamai, Dr Mabataung Khati, Khosi Makubakube, Justice Michael Ramodibedi, Dr Likoti, Mr Mokhochane, Monyane Phoofolo, Ithabeleng Phamotse, Motlatsi Ramafole, Tšeliso Khomari, Makhojane Monyane, Booi Mohapi, Moeketsi Nkoe, Sofonea Shale, Teboho Tolo, Dr Mokobocho, Professor Thekiso Khati, Dr Mampho Kotelo-Molaoa, Dr Lebohang Khomari, Mabataung Lillane, John Oliphant, Bokang Lelimo, Petlane Tšoeu, ‘Matlali Mapetla and Dr Retšelisitsoe Nkoe are cited as the 39th to 63rd respondents.
Justice Monaphathi’s 27 June interim interdict bars the State Council and His Majesty from appointing the heads of the IEC and “performing any activities relating to the appointment”.
“The first and second respondents are interdicted, prohibited and restrained from proceeding with the appointment of the chairman and commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission pending the finalisation of the matter,” the interim interdict states.
In terms of the final order, the TRC wants the High Court to among other things, nullify the appointment of Workplace Solutions as the consultants in the recruitment of the IEC commissioners. (See story on page 2).
A source close to the proceedings said the Council of State members were already seated at the royal palace in Maseru last Friday when they were informed that the business of appointing new IEC commissioners had been suspended indefinitely because of the interim court interdict.
Council of State Private Secretary Monehela Phosholi refused to comment on the matter when contacted for comment last week.
“You people should stop calling me… What do you want to talk about? No, I cannot talk to you about the business of the Council of State,” Mr Phosholi said before terminating the call.