HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
by the Hon. Mr Justice ML. Lehohla on the 8th day of February, 1999
parties are husband and wife. The action is for divorce instituted by
the plaintiff wife against the defendant on grounds of
plaintiff asks also for custody of the two minor children of the
marriage and originally their maintenance at the rate of Ml000-00
month per child. Subsequently the plaintiff asks for maintenance of
these children at the rate of
per month per child.
asks for costs of suit.
marriage is furnished by the plaintiff who handed in a copy of the
marriage Certificate showing that the parties entered
into a civil
marriage in Community of Property at District Secretary's Office,
Maseru, on 22nd August 1990. This marriage certificate
Exhibit "A" on 7th December, 1998.
plaintiff in her brief evidence indicated that she doesn't stay with
her husband. She indicated that the defendant stays in
marriage as husband and wife with one 'Mamahlomola Mosola. The
plaintiff swears that she doesn't approve of this arrangement.
further stated that there is one other woman called Mahlabana Hlabana
with whom the defendant is living in adultery and has
been doing so
Court's attention was drawn to the fact that there is already a
maintenance order for M500-00 per month per child pending dissolution
of the marriage.
plaintiff told the Court that the defendant is a businessman and does
farming as well; and that he lets out property to tenants
evidence the defendant in turn said on oath that the two children of
the marriage are in the Plaintiff's custody. He swears
that he would
be hard put to it to raise maintenance of Ml 000-00 per month per
child saying nothing of sustaining such rate of
maintenance as he
says he has been dismissed from his home and been forced to live as a
beggar in the result. He strenuously pleaded
that he owns no property
as he was expelled from his home by his chief for the area. He said
his attempt to seek the assistance
of the police against the
expulsion by the chief was to no avail.
however appreciates that he has to maintain his children but is
daunted by the unaffordable amount that this entails regard being
to the fact that he says he owns nothing.
the rent he gets is only M500-00 and leaves it to the Court to
imagine how much he would be left with if part of that amount
deducted for maintenance.
cross-examination it was revealed that despite the maintenance order
defendant made only one payment in November 1997; thus putting my
brother Monapathi J under the necessity to send the defendant
prison even after being excessively patient with him.
emerged under cross-examination that even though the Court had
ordered the defendant not to dispose of communal property
dissolution of the marriage he nonetheless went ahead and disposed of
that he left the tractor at home when expelled by the chief and the
police. He said he didn't know these police.
defendant was clearly placed in a cleft stick when it was made clear
to him that before he went to jail his wife had already
left, thus it
was incomprehensible that he could have been evicted from the
property where his wife was not even living if the
expulsion were to
be reckoned to have been at the wife's
defendant said he has tried to find out what happened to the tractor
and asserted that he is not misleading the Court when he
lives as a beggar. He was told that evidence would be called in
rebuttal of his claims.
re-examination it was elicited from him that the 12 rooms at M50-00
each for 5 rooms would earn him M550-00 per month as against
M500-00 he said they would.
further said the chief is the one who is in control of his immovable
estate. He said he didn't know who is in charge of his tractor
that he saw someone drive it. He however did not approach this driver
regarding his use of the defendant's tractor.
sued anybody for their making free with his property. That I find
very strange indeed.
Faku Lebajoa swore that he lives at Berea at the village of Chief
Tumo Masupha. He knows the defendant well for he is the
maternal uncle. He knows the defendant's wife well also.
denies that the defendant found his tractor missing when he was
released from jail. This was around 13-6-98.
the defendant sent to PW2's place his younger brother and his
brother's wife. These were Samson Lebajoa and Matšepe Lebajoa.
emissaries summoned PW2 to the defendant. In response to this call
and on arrival at defendant's residence at Ha Masupha
told PW2 that he is selling the property which the defendant pointed
out. The property consisted of two nidges, a
van and a tractor. The
refrigerators consisted of a deep freezer and an upright fridge. Both
were electrically operated. PW2 expressed
interest in the tractor
which he bought for M10 000-00. So much then for the tractor
concerning whose fate the defendant said he
didn't know anything!
PW2 says the defendant removed from his place and site with his
property including stock in the cafee, loaded these on a
left. PW2 says the defendant is trading as a businessman at Maqhaka
cross-examination it was brought to PW2's attention that the business
that he says the defendant is running belongs not to
but the woman he is living with. PW2 was adamant that the business in
reality belongs to the defendant whose employees
are even known to
PW2. He is so certain of this because he is the defendant's uncle.
emerged under re-examination that the woman living with the defendant
Mahlabana Hlabana who has her own husband. PW2 said the rented
structures owned by the defendant are in Maseru near Motimposo
Mampinane Masupha was not cross-examined. Her story is that she is
the Chieftainess of Ha Tumo. The parties are her subjects.
recalls when defendant came from prison. PW3 dubs as false any claim
by the defendant that on coming back from jail he found
devoid of property. She says that while the defendant was in jail it
was Mahlabana Hlabana who was staying there till
the defendant came
out of jail.
it is not correct that she chased the defendant from her village nor
that she employed services of the police to do so.
satisfied that the defendant is the kind of man who will mislead the
Court if he thinks no one would come forward to contradict
evidence indeed especially under cross-examination was characterised
by shiftiness, evasiveness and plainright lying.
It seems that he
delights in making a virtue of his pranks at the cost of the Court's
time and patience. I don't take kindly to
the fact that despite an
interdict to the contrary he disposed of the relevant property.
defences are rejected as being worthless and without merit. The Court
makes a finding that he has assets such as furniture and
Maqhaka at the very least.
told the Court that custody of the children was awarded to the
plaintiff after the dissolution.
and my recollection reflect no such act. Perhaps he was moved by
instinctive anticipation. His optimism is however not
decree of divorce is granted on grounds of the defendant's adultery.
of the minor children is awarded to the plaintiff.
defendant is ordered to pay maintenance of the two minor children at
the rate of M5 00-00 per month per child starting at
the end of
defendant is ordered to pay costs of suit.
Plaintiff: Mr Sello
Defendant: Mrs Majeng- Mpopo
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