CIV/T/843/86 IN THE HIGHCOURT OF LESOTHO
In the matter of:
MANTSAPA RANTSO Plaintiff
vTHEKO THITELO Defendant
Delivered by the Hon. Sir Peter Allen on the 16th day of
The plaintiff brought this action for patrimonial
damages for trespass to property. The defendant was' served with a
summons on 30
January 1987 but he did not enter an appearance or file
a defence. The plaintiff therefore proceeded ex parte with formal
The plaintiff (P.W.1) is a married woman with six
children and her husband works in the mines in the R.S.A. Their home
is at Koebung,
Ha Janefeke, Lesobeng in Thaba-Tseka District.
As part of her income she grows a field of wheat to sell
in order to feed and clothe herself and her children.
On 25 July 1986 she was awakened at around midnight by a
child who reported that her wheat was burning. She went to the
the witness Mathai Moeketsi
(PW 2) was holding a feast at his home. One of the
people attending called their attention to the burning wheat and they
to the scene. A boy named Sebako ran ahead and called to
Moeketsi, "Do you see this one?" and pointed at a man who
setting fire to the last heap of wheat. The man stood up and ran
away. By the light of the fire Moeketsi recognised him as - the
defendant Theko whom he had known all his life in that village. The
witness saw the defendant's face and clothes clearly and recognised
him before he made off.
The plaintiff testified that the defendant's horses had
trespassed into her field and had damaged her wheat which had been
bundled ready to be made into bales. She had reported this
to the chief who had designated two men to go and inspect the damage
on the next day. However, that night the wheat was burned and the
plaintiff thought that the defendant had done this so as to hide
amount of damage that had been done to the crop by his horses.
She stated that she was expecting to get four bales each
of six bags of wheat from the crop. Each bag would contain eight tins
of 12.5 kgs. i.e. 100 kgs. per bag. The plaintiff asserted that
she could expect to sell a bag at M.80 and that this rather high
price was due to the isolation of their village and the distance and
difficulty in carrying the bags by horse down to Thaba-Tseka.
added that they used to exchange one bag for two sheep or goats. She
asked for an award of M.3,000.
/The witness ...
The witness Moeketsi stated that in their area a bag
would sell for about M.60-80 and that the price varied.
The plaintiff had expected to use the straw for
thatching roofs and the chaff for feeding horses. All of it was lost.
She was also
claiming as a solatium damages for mental pain and
suffering for the six months deprivation of the much-needed income
until she could
grow a fresh crop. She stated that she had been very
worried and anxious and that her peace of mind had been impaired. She
In view of the price variation per bag I shall take the
mean and allow M70 per bag. Thus four bales each of six bags will
a total of M1680. Taking into account the loss of the straw
and chaff this amount will be rounded off to make M.1700 patrimonial
With regard to the amount for solatium I shall award
Accordingly, judgment is entered in favour of the
plaintiff in the total sum of M.1800 damages and costs in the suit.
P. A. P. J. ALLEN JUDGE
16/6/87 Miss Mofolo for plaintiff ex parte
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