Chief Justice case postponed

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’Marafaele Mohloboli 

RENOWNED South African lawyer and politician Dali Mpofu who was recently appointed to lead the government’s legal team in its court battle with Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara did not arrive in the country yesterday after the case was postponed to the 25th of this month.

The case had been scheduled to kick off today but it was postponed after the High Court failed to secure a South African judge on time to preside over the matter.

Justice Majara has petitioned the High Court for an order to interdict Dr Thabane from recommending the appointment of a tribunal to impeach her over a plethora of misconduct allegations.

She filed the court application after Dr Thabane wrote to her on 27 April 2018 and asked her to ‘show cause’ why she should not be suspended and impeached over several misconduct allegations which include her alleged failure to preside over cases for two years.

Justice Majara is also accused of incompetence resulting in a huge backlog of cases at the High Court which some judicial officers say is as high as 4000.

Dr Thabane further accuses the chief justice of contributing to the paralysis in the judiciary by failing to take the appropriate disciplinary and punitive measures against her subordinates who neglect their duties to speedily hear cases.

However Justice Majara, who is represented by Advocate Qhalehang Letsika KC of Mei & Mei Attorneys, fought back by filing a court challenge against Dr Thabane last month.

Dr Thabane, the Minister of Law, Lebohang Hlaele and the Attorney General, Haae Phoofolo are cited as first to third respondents respectively in Justice Majara’s lawsuit.

Last night the High Court and Court of Appeal Acting Registrar Pontšo Phafoli told the Lesotho Times that the case had to be postponed after the High Court “failed to secure a South African judge or judges on time to preside over the matter”.

“We requested to be given a judge or judges from South Africa and it only yesterday when the South African Judge President who helps us notified that most of his judges were still on winter vacation,” Ms Phafoli said.

Contacted for comment, Attorney General Haae Phoofolo yesterday said his office was surprised because his office had not asked for the postponement.

“Yes the matter has been postponed to the 25 and 26 July but my office still has to know who asked for the postponement and who granted it without consulting the respondents.

“Procedurally, a postponement has to be made in court and not just by a gentleman’s agreement. Even if the parties agree to a postponement it still has to be taken to court on the set date, of which we are going to do on Thursday (today) to try and understand the circumstances surrounding the postponement,” AG Phoofolo said.

He further said that Justice Majara’s should be speedily dealt with to avoid further disruptions to the delivery of justice in the courts of law.

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