IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In the Matter of
MINNIE MACHELI Plaintiff
MOSITO E. MAKHELE 1st Defendant
OF THE INTERIOR 2nd Defendant
Delivered by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the
10th day of May, 1993
At the closure of the plaintiff's case Mr. Maqutu
for the 1st defendant moved an application for the discharge of the
In motivating this application which was opposed by Mr.Mohau for the plaintiff, Mr. Maqutu submitted that
there was no prima facie case on balance of probabilities to
warrant the 1st defendant's answer.
It is a measure of the strength of 1st defendant's case
that Mr. Maqutu submitted that he was at this stage asking for
the dismissal of the plaintiff's while in other circumstances less
favourable to the
1st defendant he would have been content with
2 asking for absolution from the instance only.
Plaintiff tendered in evidence Exhibit "A" - a
form C issued according to date stamp on 2nd January 1973. The
Exhibit "A" reflect that Mots'eare Macheli (the
deceased husband of the plaintiff) was allocated a business site at
Moshe Mejametalana, measuring 200 & 27 feet.
I should reject the argument by the 1st defendant's
attorney that the ampersand sign & between 200 and 27 should be
as showing that the plaintiff's site is just a straight
line. Indeed in evidence the plaintiff denied that her site is a
line. My interpretation of this ampersand sign is that it
represents a multiplication sign x. For purposes of my judgment
should turn on this specious argument.
The main ground on which my decision is based consists
in the following :-
The site claimed by the plaintiff is a business site
according to what the Form C she submitted reflects.
In terms of the Deeds Registry Act 1967 such a site had
to be registered according to law. Section 2(3) gives plain meaning
"This Act shall not be applicable to rural areas
the exception of such areas within a rural area which
are used for
(a) trade, commerce and industry, including prospecting
for minerals and mining minerals...
It would seem therefore that to the extent that
area which falls within Thamae area where this site is
situated is a rural area and that the site is itself a business site,
not conform to the provisions of this law which treats them
with exception from sites which are exempt from registration as
15 more fully provides.
Indeed Section 15(2) says :
"Every person or body holding a certificate issued
by proper authority authorising the occupation or use of
land shall within three months of date of issue of the
certificate apply to the registrar for a registered certificate of
occupy or use."
Subsection (3) says:
"Every person or body who prior to the commencement
of this Act was issued with a certificate by the proper authority the
or use of land shall likewise apply to the registrar
within a period of (nine) months from the date of commencement of
this Act for
a registered certificate of title to occupy or use,"
Subsection (4) in plain language states that failure to
comply with subsections (2) and (3) as to prescribed periods within
to apply to the registrar for a registered
certificate shall deprive any holder of the land in
question of his or her right to such land as it shall have reverted
to the "Basuto"
Nation, and any certificate which has not
been lodged timeously with the registrar shall be null and void and
of no force and effect.
Nothing in the plaintiff's papers or evidence shows that
she paid any attention to the provisions of the law cited above. Her
to comply with the above law resulted in her loss of whatever
title she claims to have to this land which by operation of the law
should upon her failure revert to the "Basuto" Nation.
Nothing shows that she made any attempt to approach the
registrar or the courts of law for extension of the periods which
This being the case the plaintiff asks for what has
reverted to the "Basuto" Nation. It seems to me that on
that alone the
court cannot award to her what no longer belongs to
her as it has reverted to the "Basuto" Nation.
Without making any pronouncement as to what rights, if
any, the 1st defendant has to this land the plaintiff's failure to
the requirements of the law give her no title to this
land. It is arguable whether the 1st defendant himself has any title.
this Court is satisfied that the 1st defendant in
opting for his right to apply for the discharge of
the claim against him took a risk well-worth taking.
It has not been necessary to consider the plaintiff's
locus standi in judicio for Mr. Maqutu abandoned any pursuit of the
that regard notwithstanding that sufficient evidence had
made it apparent that the plaintiff was somewhat acting independently
her husband. However it serves no purpose to overdo things. A
single arrow directed at the heart of a stag renders it unnecessary
to further stab it lest the skin be destroyed.
The defendant's application for the discharge of the
plaintiff's case against him is granted with costs.
10th May, 1998 For Plaintiff: Mr. MAQOTE
African Law (AfricanLII)
Ghana Law (GhaLII)
Laws of South Africa (Legislation)
Lesotho Law (LesLII)
Liberian Law (LiberLII)
Malawian Law (MalawiLII)
Namibian Law (NamibLII)
Nigerian Law (NigeriaLII)
Sierra Leone Law (SierraLII)
South African Law (SAFLII)
Seychelles Law (SeyLII)
Swaziland Law (SwaziLII)
Tanzania Law (TanzLII)
Ugandan Law (ULII)
Zambian Law (ZamLII)
Zimbabwean Law (ZimLII)
Commonwealth Countries' Law
LII of India
United States Law