EFF’S Dali Mpofu to head­line govt le­gal team

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

PRIME Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s gov­ern­ment is pulling out all the stops in its quest to win its court bat­tle with Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara. It has roped in renowned South African lawyer and politi­cian Dali Mpofu to head its le­gal team.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral (AG) Haae Phoofolo this week con­firmed that the gov­ern­ment had ap­pointed Ad­vo­cate Mpofu as the se­nior coun­sel in its case against Jus­tice Ma­jara.

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.

Jus­tice Ma­jara pe­ti­tioned the court to or­der that “the gov­ern­ment un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the first re­spon­dent (Dr Tha­bane) has con­tra­vened the con­sti­tu­tion by re­quir­ing and/or de­mand­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the ap­pli­cant as Chief Jus­tice of the King­dom of Lesotho”.

In her sup­port­ing af­fi­davit, Jus­tice Ma­jara said she had been left with no choice but to seek le­gal re­lief “af­ter all my ef­forts to re­solve this mat­ter am­i­ca­bly proved fu­tile”.

She sug­gested that Dr Tha­bane only penned the ‘show cause’ let­ter and de­cided on the le­gal route of ad­vis­ing His Majesty to sus­pend her and ap­point a tri­bunal af­ter his “un­law­ful at­tempts” to re­move her from of­fice through “co­er­cion” had failed.

“The gov­ern­ment has ap­pointed Ad­vo­cate Dali Mpofu as a se­nior coun­sel to rep­re­sent it in the case against Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara,” Adv Phoofolo told the Lesotho Times this week.

He added: “We have al­ready briefed him on the case and he will come and ar­gue the case on be­half of the gov­ern­ment.”

An­other gov­ern­ment source who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity told this pub­li­ca­tion that Adv Mpofu was in­volved in prepar­ing the gov­ern­ment’s heads of ar­gu­ments in the case against Jus­tice Ma­jara.

“We en­gaged him (Adv Mpofu) to head our le­gal team and he is tasked with prepar­ing the heads of ar­gu­ments among other things,” the source said.

Adv Mpofu is an ex­pe­ri­enced lawyer who was a mem­ber of the rul­ing African Na­tional Congress (ANC) un­til 2013 when he joined the Julius Malema-led Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) party as its na­tional chair­per­son.

Adv Mpofu has han­dled a num­ber of high pro­file cases in­clud­ing the much pub­li­cized 16 Au­gust 2012 Marikana Mas­sacre in which dozens of min­ers were shot dead.

More re­cently in March this year, Adv Mpofu suc­cess­fully rep­re­sented South African crick­eter, Kag­iso Rabada, in his fight to over­turn a ban that had been im­posed on him by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil. Rabada had been banned for mak­ing in­ten­tional phys­i­cal con­tact with Australian bats­man Steve Smith in a test match be­tween the two coun­tries.

The Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand-trained Adv Mpofu is cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing Cape Town Mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille in her fight against the de­ci­sion by the Demo­cratic Al­liance to strip her of her mem­ber­ship of the op­po­si­tion party. Ms de Lille won the case yes­ter­day.

Mean­while, the gov­ern­ment is de­mand­ing that Jus­tice Ma­jara re­cuse her­self from al­lo­cat­ing judges to hear her case against Dr Tha­bane as she is an in­ter­ested party.

Adv Phoofolo states in a let­ter to the act­ing High Court reg­is­trar that

Jus­tice Ma­jara’s in­volve­ment in the al­lo­ca­tion of judges “would not ac­cord well with the proper ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice”.

Adv Phoofolo said it was a sim­ple mat­ter for Jus­tice Ma­jara to al­lo­cate cases to High Court judges where she was not a party to the lit­i­ga­tion.

“But now that she is a party to the pro­ceed­ings (against Dr Tha­bane) my re­spect­ful view is that it would not ac­cord well with the proper ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice if she is the one who does the al­lo­ca­tion of her own case. She can­not even del­e­gate her pow­ers to a judge who is ju­nior to her,” AG Phoofolo said in the let­ter dated 13 June 2018.

He added: “The con­sti­tu­tion un­der sec­tion 120 (4) would ap­pear to pro­vide a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem. How­ever, I see it as ap­pro­pri­ate if her la­dy­ship would meet with the Hon­ourable Prime Min­is­ter to am­i­ca­bly thrash out this is­sue which is caus­ing con­cern to the gov­ern­ment.”

AD­VO­CATE Dali Mpofu.

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