Eulogy speech for the memorial of the Late Lebereko Augustinus Lethobane

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Speech Author: 
Adv. Monaheng Seeiso Rasekoai
Date: 
05 July 2012

Eulogy speech for the memorial of the Late Lebereko Augustinus Lethobane

Palace of Justice, High Court Building

5 July 2012

By: Adv. M.S. Rasekoai

 

His Lordship The Honourable Chief Justice,

Honourable Judges of this Honourable Court

Members of the judiciary in their entirety

My learned seniors in order of seniority

My learned colleagues…

Members of the family of Ntate Lebereko Augustinus Lethobane

Today perhaps like yesterday, I am enjoined to stand with both a bleeding heart and a trembling voice as I engage in efforts to bid farewell to a man who made a meaningful contribution in the jurisprudence of Labour law in this jurisdiction. A man who devoted a total period of more than two decades to a cause of facilitating the administration of justice in the labour field.

The pain and grief endured by Mrs. Lethobane is directly shared by myself. Not only do I speak on behalf of my colleagues in the legal profession but I also speak from my heart. Why do I say this? Between the years of 1997 and 2001 I was a student of Mrs. Lethobane at ‘Mabathoana High School. A school which was named after the first Mosotho Catholic Arch-Bishop. I have a parental bondage with both Mr. and Mrs. Lethobane but not only that, we share strong ties as staunch Catholics. Mrs. Lethobane taught me Mathematics and I am quiet certain that she was disappointed when she learnt that I pursued a field which is parallel to the dynamics of Mathematics by being a lawyer. I can only defend myself by asserting that I never liked Mathematics because there is no room for argument, one plus one will always be two and there is no way of going around it.    

I consistently pondered over the issue of whether I am better qualified to narrate the eulogy of Mr. Lethobane because my interaction with him was exclusively confined within the bounds of the courtroom in the Labour Court. But like I said yesterday, I will beg that I be allowed to speak of him not as a judicial officer, a public servant or a lawyer. But I shall speak of him as a parent, a man who instilled some sense of direction in my life within the course of my professional growth. I recall of one specific incident when he intimated to me that I should motivate some other young lawyers to pursue the field of labour law with enthusiasm and vigour. He highlighted that it is critical that we devote our efforts and energies to labour related issues as legal practitioners mainly because in a developing economy the bargaining powers of the employers are clouded with open-ended arbitrariness and tyranny. He emphasized that legal practitioners in private practice must consolidate their efforts with the members of trade unions in order to curb the distributive injustice which is perpetuated by the imbalance of bargaining powers in the workplace.

Your Lordships

Your Ladyships

Honourable Members of the profession

It is a self-evident truism that approximately half of the entire population in this country is in dire straits as a consequence of the scourge of unemployment. The very few fortunate people who are able to wake up each morning in order to go to their workplaces are labouring under very appalling conditions. The onerous task that lay on Ntate Lethobane’s shoulders together with his colleagues prior to the establishment of The D.D.P.R. was overwhelming and burdensome. And not only was it burdensome, but it also required the highest level of commitment and intellectual aptitude.

 

Your Lordships

Your Ladyships

Honourable Members of the profession

Is there any man or woman for that matter who can boldly stand up today and question the manner in which Ntate Lethobane conducted the Labour Court? Is there any element of blemish or taint that anyone present here today can point at which had to do with the manner in which The late President of the Labour Court conducted and administered the Labour Court? I can boldly stand with a straight face and deny anyone a platform who would make any attempt to suggest as such. The jurisprudence which has been formulated and coined by Ntate Lethobane speaks volumes and we can all attest to that. His friends and colleagues together with the members of his family have shared the vital moments of his life with us yesterday and one cannot help it but conclude that indeed he was a champion in his own right. I believe I am not better qualified to say anything beyond this except to say just a few words of wisdom to my teacher, Mrs. Lethobane….

 

In the earlier stages of my growth, you taught me the wisdom of making calculations through mathematics. But you and I can safely agree that the greatest calculation that any man can make under the sun is that of not questioning the decision of God. I am reliably informed by the Bible that life is indeed a gift from God, and that God is the source of life. When God finally decides to take the gift back to where it belongs where are not supposed to question him. Otherwise we are most likely to come across as non-believers or even worse atheist.

 

 

‘Me’ ‘Mamoipone Lethobane

I knew you to be genuinely Christian lady, moderate in your own right and I have seen the best display of nonchalance on your part even in the worst of times. I even recall that back in high school you were the only teacher who never entertained corporal punishment but who had both the respect and love of all the students. On behalf of the profession we thank you for having given the profession the opportunity to borrow your priced trophy, your husband. Even more importantly we should all thank God for having blessed our lives with a man of the caliber of Ntate Lethobane.

I ask the entire Lethobane family to wipe those tears and to substitute their grief with jubilance because he has left us all with a treasure which is going to be worth our while. I was once informed by my late grandfather that the greatest achievement that any man can achieve under the sun is that of being able to be of service to his God, to his family and to his country. I can boldly suggest that we are all witnesses to the credit in which Ntate Lethobane performed all those tasks. In those words, MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE…

 

O ROBALE KA KHOTSO MOTLOUNG…MOEA OA HAE LE OA BALUMELI BOHLE BA FALLETSENG O PHOMOLE KA KHOTSO LE MOHAU OA MOLIMO!!!