Mapesela fights to reverse child support order

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Mohalenyane Phakela

DEFENCE and National Security Minister Tefo Mapesela has petitioned the High Court to review the Maseru Children’s Court’s decision ordering him to pay M5000 monthly towards his children’s maintenance.

On 18 July 2019, the Maseru Children’s Court ordered that the government put in place a stop order to deduct M5000 from Mr Mapesela’s salary and give it to his former wife, Tholang Moreki, to support their two children.

Mr Mapesela approached the High Court last month pleading that it reviews the decision of the lower court as he was not afforded an opportunity to defend himself in the Children’s Court.

The respondents in Mr Mapesela’s application are Ms Moreki, the Human Resources Manager in the Ministry of Defence, the government treasury, the Clerk of the Maseru Children’s Court and the Attorney General.

Mr Mapesela argues that he cannot give money to his estranged wife as she would spend it to finance her gambling addiction.

“I used to give the first respondent (Ms Moreki) money, only to find that she misused the money on gambling and unlawful money lending to the detriment of the children,” Mr Mapesela alleges in his High Court application.

“I then decided to buy food, clothing and uniforms for the children, pay their school fees and also pay rent where the first respondent and the children stay. I almost do everything for them. Medical expenses for the children are being paid by me.

“The only reason (for which) the first respondent approached the Children’s Court is to get cash from me and then do nothing for the children. This is also intended to defame me. Even the amount she is claiming is very unreasonable and preposterous as I am still doing everything for their living.

“This matter calls for urgent relief as two orders, inclusive of the garnishee order, have already been granted and served on my employer to take the amount of M5000 from my salary to my detriment as the first respondent cannot be in a position to repay it. Above it all, it will not be used to support the children therefore I will still be compelled to pay for the children’s needs as I cannot expel the children when they come to me for their needs.”

In his prayers, Mr Mapesela asks the High Court to block the execution of the Children’s Court’s order and further allow him to defend himself before a different magistrate.

“That the judgement by court a quo (lower court) be reviewed and set aside and that the applicant (Mr Mapesela) be allowed to defend himself on the main case before a different magistrate.”

Mr Mapesela also argues in his application that he was not afford the opportunity to defend himself in the Children’s Court because by the time he wanted to do so, his lawyer was told that a default judgement had already been awarded in favour of Ms Moreki.

“Around the month of June I received some court process upon which I instructed my office staff to deliver the same to my lawyer (Advocate Bokang Nthimo) as I was on an official trip which took me about two weeks. Upon my return, to my surprise, I was served with another court process, only to realise the staff had had not delivered the first process to my lawyer.  I requested the court’s messenger to serve the same papers to my lawyer but later on my lawyer told me that he had not been served.

“My lawyer advised that he would go to court and make findings. I got feedback that when he arrived at court, he was informed that the person handling the file was on leave until 18 July 2019. After 18 July 2019 my lawyer went to court only to find that a default judgement had been granted against me on 18 July 2019, hence I did not have the opportunity to defend myself,” Mr Mapesela said.

 

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