HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
MOEKETSI MALEBO - PLAINTIFF
MIRROR NEWSPAPER - 1ST DEFENDANT
EDITOR MIRROR NEWSPAPER - 2Nd DEFENDANT
CASWELL - 3rd DEFENDANT
NAMANE - 4th DEFENDANT
MOSEME - 5th DEFENDANT
by Mr Justice W.C.M. Maqutu on the 9th May 2005
21st August 2005 plaintiff instituted an action of defamation against
the defendants in which he claimed:-
of the sum of M700 000.00 damages.
on alternative relief.
particular of the action appear in paragraphs 8 to 18 of plaintiffs
declaration which state:
about the 28th May 2003 at Maseru and in the whole kingdom of
Lesotho, an article written by Third Defendant was published
Second Defendant in the Newspaper. First Defendant herein entitled:
RIGHTFUL OWNER OR THE PEOPLE?
article published in First Defendant herein was to the following
"LEADER OF THE MAREMATLOU FREEDOM PARTY (MFP), VINCENT MALEBO,
HAS A LOT TO EXPLAIN TO THE COMMUNITY OF THUATHE, BARUTING,
TRACTOR BELONGING TO THE THUATHE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, WHICH IS
REGULARLY USE BY HIM, WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT."
First Defendant here in published a report made by Fourth Defendant
"I SAW DOCUMENTS THAT SHOWED THAT BOTH TRACTORS WERE DANATED TO
THUATHE COMMUNITY. I WAS ONLY AMAZED WHEN ANOTHER TRACTOR
TO MALEBO TO USE ON HIS BEHALF, ALTHOUGH IT WAS
OFFICIALLY SAID IT WOULD HELP LEKOKOANENG COMMUNITY."
First Defendant herein also published a report made by Fifth
Defendant herein to the following effect;
"EVEN THOUGH PHORORO WAS ONE OF US, WE SHIED AWAY WHEN WE WERE
SUPPOSED TO QUESTION THE MANNER IN WHICH OUR TRACTOR WAS GIVEN
MALEBO BECAUSE HE AND MALEBO WERE GOVERNMENT MINISTERS."
Defendant went further to publish a report made by Fifth Defendant to
POLICE HAD CONFISCATED TRACTORS, WE, MAMBERS OF THE THUATHE
DEELOPMENT COUNCIL, WENT TO THE POLICE STATION TO PROVE TO
THAT TRACTORS WERE RIGHTFULLY IN OUR POSSESSION. THE
COMMUNITY WAS NOT REPRSENTED AND MALEBO WAS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN. THE
ABSENCE OF MALEBO IS THE CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT BOTH
TRACTORS BELONG TO
US ALONE FOR IF THEY HAD ANY LEGAL RIGHTS TO THEM THEY COULD HAVE
COME TO RELEASE THEIR TRACTOR."
published words in First Defendant made a specific reference to
Plaintiff by name. These words are statements of facts
made by the
Defendants and they constitute a lie.
words in the context of the article are wrongful and defamatory of
Plaintiff in that they were intended and were
by readers of the First Defendant that Plaintiff is dishonest, a
cheat and corrupt in the follow ing respects:
used his position and standing to cheat and obtain a tractor for
misappropriated the community's tractor;
is a thief: !5.4 He is a criminal.
Third, Fourth and Fifth Defendants have contributed in defaming and
publishing false, malicious, wrongful and defamatory words
Plaintiff by conspiring and manufacturing evidence that Plaintiff
misappropriated the community's tractor,
defamatory words about Plaintiff were fully covered and published in
the First Defendant, a newspaper which is widely distributed
the Kingdom of Lesotho and widely read by the genera! public.
result of the said defamation, Plaintiff has been damaged in his
reputation as a member of Parliament, a leader of political
well renouned farmer, a businessman, a respected member of the
community as well as a family man and has suffered damages
amount for M700 000.00 for which Plaintiff holds all Defendants
liable to pay."
Defendants admits all the facts except the follow ing - which appear
in their plea;
- 5 -
PARAGRAPH 14 THEREOF
deny that the statement was made wrongfully or with intention to
injure plaintiffs reputation because
statement is in essence true.
publication of the statement about plaintiff was in the public
statement was not a statement of fact but a comment concerning the
matter of public interest namely the finances of a public
comment was fair in the circumstances.
facts on which the comment was based are true.
PARAGRAPH 15 THEREOF:
are denied and plaintiff is put to proof thereof.
PARAGRAPH 16 THEREOF:
PARAGRAPH 17 THEREOF:
deny that the said contents were defamatory and reiterate contents of
paragraph 5 above.
defendants pray that this claim de dismissed with, costs.
pre-trial conference was held on the 10" February 2004. There
were facts that were not clear in the pleading consequently
particulars from plaintiff had to follow. These are the minutes.
" ADMISSION OF
1.1. The publication of the statement.
1.2. The statement refers to Plaintiff by name.
1.3. The tractor was and still is in the custody of Plaintiff.
1.4. Paragraph 17 of the declaration is admitted save for the word
Whether the statement is false or true
2.2. Whether the statement is defamatory
2.3. Whether the tractor is lawfully in Plaintiffs custody.
2.4. Whether Plaintiff is a well renowned farmer, businessman and a
respected member of the community.
furnish the Defendants with further particulars within 21 days."
particulars from plaintiff were the following.
PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE DECLARATION:
false that the tractor in question belongs to the THUATHE DEVELOPMENT
COUNCIL. The tractor is question belongs to the LEKOKOANENG
MORNING SIDE COMMUNITY, The said community has to necessary documents
of ownership i.e. BLUECARD. By consent with the LEKOKOANENG
MORNINGSIDE COMMUNITY the tractor in question is parked at Plaintiffs
tractor is question was confiscated by the Police the LEKOKOANENG AND
MORNINGSIDE COMMUNITY duly claimed it producing the
documents of ownership."
amended their plea on the 28th February 2005, without any objection
from plaintiff in the following manner.
PARAGRAPH 5 THEREOF:
5.2 (a) The defendant has not published recklessly.
(b) The defendants had not been negligent in publishing the article.
(c) The publication was objectively reasonable.
(e) The articles were published without amimis injuriandi.
amendment of paragraph 5 of the plea was an inconsequential
amendment, it merely clarified the defence of the defendants.
10th March 2005 the trial commenced. Mr Ntlhoki appeared for
plaintiff while Miss Thabane appeared for the defendants. The
of evidence began.
was his first witness. He told the court he was a family man with
grandchildren. In the structures of the Lesotho Evangelical
had risen to its executive governing body called the Seboka. He had
been a grain wheat and maize, farmers for both grain
farming until he could no more farm because of full lime
participation in politics. He had started with a second-had
between 1982 and 1985. Later on, around 1986 he bought a new tractor.
begun farming using his relatives arable lands that were not being
used. Plaintiff told the court he had ploughed the fields
relatives that used to work with his grandfather. He began his
farming and farming organizational activities at Lekokoaneng
expanded to Mekhethoaneng. Ha Fusi, Ha Maritimsi, Ha Nisuba. along
the Teyateyaneng River - ha Saremone right up to Thuathe.
areas at which his grandfather had been an Evangelist.
communities plaintiff worked with (according to plaintiff) were
organized - plaintiff on set up a nucleus for them at Ha Motsikoane
at the Morning Star Shop. There farming implements were kept. These
people had once been organized under the Mantsatlala scheme
became defunct - consequently plaintiff only provided the nucleus.
For that reason in plaintiffs view their farming operations
successful when he provided them with a nucleus.
1986 and 1990 plaintiff told the court that he became a government
minister at the end of his career as a civil servant.
As a civil
servant he had risen from an interpreter to Principal Secretary in
charge of a Ministry. He had been in the diplomatic
service as a
consellor in London and New York.
he became a Resident Ambassador. He had served the Military Regime as
a Minister. From the British colonial administration
and in Prime
Minister Leabua Government, he had commanded respect. Nevertheless in
1990 he was sacked as a government minister
by the Military
Government because he could not agree with corrupt things.
told the court that his complaint was against an article in the
Mirror newspaper issue of 28th May to 3rd June 2003. Plaintiff
handed an issue of the Mirror newspaper. His complaint focused
against the headline on page 1 which read "Is Malebo Rightful
owner of the people?" This article goes together with another
article on page 2 of the same issue whose title is We want our
tractor" Both these articles are in English. In them plaintiff
is singled out by name. The article Is Malebo Rightful Owner
plaintiffs photograph in it. Plaintiff handed to the court the Mirror
issue of 28th to 3rd May 2003 - as an exhibit and it
nutshell according to plaintiff, the two articles potray him as an
untrustworthy person who used his position as minister to
use a tractor that belongs to the community. He is potrayed as the
owner of the tractor when he is not. Plaintiff read
into the record
several passages from
articles among which were the following from the article: "We
want our tractor."
Merematlou - Freedom Party (MFP) leader Vincent Malebo. owes an
explanation to the community of Thuathe, Baruting, about the
belonging to the Thuathe development council, which is regularly used
by him without the council's consent.
added: "1 saw documents that both tractors were donated to the
Thuathe community. 1 was only amazed when another tractor
to Malebo to use it for his personal benefit, although it was
officially said it would help the community." Namane
that Phororo did not make it clear to them at a public gathering that
both tractors belonged to them. They only heard
from Phororo that the
second was given to Malebo on condition that it would serve the
people of Lekokoaneng.
to Namane, police, suspecting that the equipment had been illegally
in possession of Malebo and Thuathe development council,
confiscated them (tractors).
police had confiscated tractors, we, members of the Thuathe
development council, went to the police station to prove to
the tractors were rightfully ours. The Lekokoaneng community was not
represented and Malebo was nowhere to be seen,"
main article "Is Malebo the Rightful owner or the people.'1
Plaintiff inter alia read into the record several passages
conveyed the same meaning as those already quoted in the article "We
want our tractor." Among those worth noting,
drew to the attention of the court were the following:
tractor, whose registration number is A 8265 has been used by Malebo
since 1987 to date. According to the defunct Thuathe
Council members, Montsi Namane and Lephoi Moseme. there is written
evidence that the tractor is pan of their property
donated to them by
Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO). during military regime.
"Dr Rakoro Phororo. then a member of Thuathe Development Council
and a cabinet minister made proposals for agricultural aid
were given two tractors, each with its planter, plough, furrow and a
trailer. We received only one of them and as for the
told us to a public gathering that it would be given to Lekokoaneng
community." said Lephoi Mo seme.
Namane said: "I saw documents that showed that both tractors
were donated to Thuathe community. I was only amazed when another
tractor was given to Malebo to use on his behalf, although it was
officially said it would help Lekokoaneng community."
noted that Phororo did of make it clear to the people that both
tractors belong to them. He said they only heard from Phororo
their tractor was given to Maiebo on agreement that it would be used
for the benefit of Lekokoaneng community.
though Phororo was one of us, we shied away when we were supposed to
question the manner in which our tractor was given
to Maiebo because
he and Maiebo were government ministers," said Lephoi Moseme,
adding that they were dissatisfied with the
idea of giving out their
"When the police had confiscated tractors, we, members of the
Thuathe Development Council, went to the police station to prove
the police that tractors were rightfully in our possession. The
Lekokoaneng community was not represented and Malebo was nowhere to
Moseme. "The absence of Lekokoaneng community representatives
and Malebo is the clear evidence that both tractors belong
alone, for if they had any legal rights to them they could have come
to release their tractor,"" he continued.
also objected to the allegation that he uses a tractor of the Thuathe
Development Council for himself he had never had
anything to do with
that body. Plaintiff added that he had never received a tractor
registered as A 8265 from Thuathe Development
Council or from any
one. That statement is false. Plaintiff emphasized that he objects to
the statement that he used this tractor
regularly for himself.
Plaintiff did not dispute that the tractor might have been a donation
obtained by Dr Phororo who was then
Minister of Agriculture. What
plaintiff disputed was that he personally received a tractor meant
for the Thuathe Community when
he and Dr Phororo were Ministers in
the Military regime.
admitted that the police did seize the tractor in 1990. It had not
been in his possession, nor had he illegally acquired
it. It was not
true that he did not go to the police about this matter. Plaintiff
told the court he did go to the police. The Lekokoaneng
reclaimed the tractor from
is about fifteen kilometers from Lekokoaneng. Plaintiff told the
court that it was false to say he was ever given a tractor
Phororo as was alleged in the article. He took exception to the
imputation make by Namane the fourth defendant that they
afraid to ask because that implies they were abusing power as
ministers. It is not correct that the Lekokoaneng Community
entitled to the tractor because the tractor was with them when it was
seized by the police. It was returned to them and
it is still with
them even today.
articles are defamatory. Plaintiff demanded a retraction of the
allegations against him. This was not done, so he brought
proceedings that he might not have brought. He is claiming M700
000.00 in respect of his hard earned reputation that was
diminished. People will take him for a thief who robs people under
the guise of being a politician. Plaintiff said he
does not insist on
cross-examination plaintiff said he believes in democracy and freedom
of speech in which the media has a role to pay. The
must be served without defaming people. If statements are true there
is nothing wrong. The pleadings were drawn
on his instructions.
that in his evidence in chief he had denied ever being in possession
of the tractor. Plaintiff noted that in his further
had said "with the consent of the Lekokoaneng and Morning side
community the tractor was parked at plaintiffs
residence was in fact his aunt's not his. Plaintiff conceded that the
pre-trial conference minutes state that
the tractor was and is still
in plaintiffs custody. Bui plaintiff added that it was guarded by
farmers. Plaintiff conceded that
his explanation conflicts with his
pleadings and formal admissions. In answer to questions plaintiff
confirmed he was part of the
farming operations - but he no more is.
The tractor is among his property such a threshing machines for
with defendants counsels questions, plaintiff admitted that the
article states that the tractor belongs to the Thuathe Development
Council. Plaintiff also agreed that registration at the Traffic
Department is proof of ownership. If the registration certificate
states the tractor belongs to the Thuathe Development Council it
would be correct. It is a fact that the tractor was in fact
in the name of the Thuathe Village Development Council -
plaintiff said this when he was shown a copy of the Registration
This is a different body form the Lekokoaneng
Community. Plaintiff said his guess is that the Minister of
agriculture as a member of the Thuathe Development Council wanted
keep track of it. Plaintiff said he does not know where the tractor
was got from. Plaintiff in answer to questions had to concede
since the Blue Book (registration certificate) showed the tractor
belonged to the Thuathe Development Council, they were entitled
ask questions. Plaintiff added he does not know if the Thuathe
Development Council could claim the tractor.
in answer to further questions said he never incurred responsibility
for the tractor. Plaintiff noted that its Blue Book
card) is Number 26861 including the chassis and engine numbers on to.
The documents produced in respect of the tractor
address of the Ministry of Information which had been plaintiffs
address as Minister. The Plaintiff denied knowledge
of them - and
what they reflected. These documents purported to show plaintiff
taking delivery of the tractor from Maseru the price
of the tractor
was in US dollars. The initials on the document were similar to those
of plaintiff - although they were in a different
denied knowledge of them. The signature on
according to plaintiff not his. These papers were not produced or
handed in as evidence.
in answer to questions conceded that the tractor was sometimes parked
at residences or repair shops of people who share
his surname of
Malebo. Plaintiff said that after seeing the police he met fourth
defendant -who was that day reserved although
they had been at school
together. Plaintiff told the court he did not know if the tractor was
released by the police to the Ministry
of Agriculture - but what he
does know is that it ended up with the Lekokoaneng community.
Plaintiff said when he was before the
police in respect of the
tractor, it is possible that it was at time the Thuathe Development
Council members were not there. Since
their tractor was taken, the
Thuathe Development Council was entitled to meet the police. The
police suspected that plaintiff and
Dr Phororo had stolen the
tractors - yet they did not ask him any questions when he was before
was asked about the performance of the Marematlou Freedom Party at
general elections. Plaintiff who is the leader of that
party told the
court that in 1965 the party won four seats. While in 1993 and 1998
it won no seats. In 2002 it won only one seat.
about ownership of the tractor, plaintiff said if it was true that
the tractor belonged to the Thuathe Development Council,
then, it is
not defamatory to say so. To say he was no before the police at the
time the Thuathe Development Council was there
is not defamatory.
When it is suggested he stole the tractor, it has to be true -
otherwise it was defamatory. The publication
out of the blue thirteen
years after the events later implies he has stolen the tractor,
Caswell Tlali - the journalist never looked
for him, he know him
well. He was in country at the time. It is false that he was not.
tractor did work his land along with the lands of others as he was
part of the Lekokoaneng Community.
second witness for plaintiff (Pw2) was Christina Mohlakola. She told
the court that she resides at Ha Ntsuba Lekokoaneng in
district. They had their own farmers group at Ha Ntsuba. They had a
tractor donated to them by government around 1987.
As farmers of
Lekokoaneng Ha Ntsuba they had accepted that tractor with Selialia of
the Ministry of Agriculture at Teyateyaneng.
It had come to them
already registered. The witness handed over the Blue Book
(registration certificate) and it was
Exhibit "B. Its serial number was No 26681. It showed the
tractor was registered A 8265 in the name of Thuathe Village
Development Council. The year of make of the tractor was 1989. It was
first issued in a date that is not clear from the rubber
the first date of expiry of the certificate was 30 - 09 - 90. It can
be assumbed that it was first registered on 30
the registration certificate related to the tractor of the
Lekokoaneng farmers of which she was secretary. She had been
for it annually since then. IV2 said the tractor was not plaintiffs
tractor. At one time it was confiscated by the police
and about ten
farmers went to the police to claim it back. The police handed back
the tractor to them - after a few days. The police
had invited them
to come and take it. The farmers did not take the tractor on the day
of the police invitation because they had
no driver. Pw2 also said
the tractor had been released to the ministry of Agriculture.
day the police release the tractor to the Lekokoaneng farmers it has
remained with them ever since. Pw2 told the court
they did not see
Development Council on the day they were before the police. No
journalist from a newspaper ever came to enquire about the
Pw2 said she was the secretary of the Lekokoaneng farmers. She was
the record keeper. It was the treasurer who paid
for the tractor.
Some receipts are there while others are not there. The receipts in
the Blue card stop in 1996. Asked if she was
aware that the tractor
was registered in the name of Thuathe Village Development Council her
answer was the following:
"So the government has been deceiving us when it had said it
belonged to us.1'
witness for plaintiff was Leauoa Malebo who told the court that he
was a farmer. He and many others belong to a farmers
Lekokoaneng. He supervised tractors when they are going to plough.
Initially they had two tractors - one belonging to
the other one belonged to government. The government had assisted
them with this second tractor. When they got
it, it already had
number plate and its documents. One tractor went to Thuathe when
Phororo was leader and the other went to Lekokoaneng.
their leader was plaintiff.
tractor was seized by the police. The police called them as
Lekokoakeng farmers. The tractor was subsequently released to them.
That tractor is still in their custody. The second one which belongs
to plaintiff is under repairs. No one ever claimed the tractor
donated to them by the government. No one from a newspaper (to his
knowledge) ever investigated the tractor given to them by government.
Pw3 said the tractor was parked at the home of Jemina - his late
sister. Tau the plaintiffs son was given to Jemina.
He lives at that
place where the tractor is kept.
closed his case and defendant's counsel applied for absolution from
the instance. The application was refused.
witness of the defence was Lephoi Moseme the fifth defendant (Dwl).
He told the court that he was working in the Thuathe
Committee. He has since been replaced. In 1990 he was still a member.
Tractors were purchased on behalf of the Thuathe
Committee by the minister. One tractor came, the other tractor, they
were told by Mr Phororo that plaintiff had asked
for it for the
Lekokoaneng people through a
committee. They were satisfied by did not ask questions. They thought
Mr Phororo knew better. Those two tractors were
later seized by the
police. They went to the police to testify that those tractors belong
to the Thuathe Development Committee.
The police said they would
return them through the Ministry of Agriculture. Only one tractor was
returned. They do not know what
happened to the other tractor.
he knows plaintiff well Plaintiff was not present at the charge
office when they were there. Dwl said he does not know
Lekokoaneng people were there then they were at the police station.
However the police were satisfied. Mr Phororo had promised
for the drivers to drive tractors back. Only one tractor was
Caswell a journalist from Mirror newspaper came to him and asked
questions. He asked Dwl if he was in the Thuathe Development
Committee Dwl told him that they asked for farming equipment. Mr
Phororo being a Minister was sent by them to ask for farming
equipment. After that a tractor was brought and shown to the people.
This tractor was subsequently seized by the police.
the tractor was passed on to Malebo who would use it at Lekokoaneng.
Dwl said he does not know if plaintiff worked with
Development Committee. They were content to pay taxes for the tractor
in their possession as the government was
a military one. Dwl said he
never read the article that was in the Mirror of 28th to 3rd June
2003. Dwl said he does not know the
exact location of the tractor.
questions from plaintiffs counsel, Dwl said plaintiff asked for the
tractor on behalf of the Lekokoaneng Community. That
to the Thuathe Community. Dr Phororo had looked for the tractors on
behalf of the Thuathe Community. Dwl said
he would not deny that he
was doing this as Minister of Agriculture. The tractor was registered
was registered in the name of the
Thuathe Development Council - so
the minister had no right to pass on the tractor. The Thuathe
Development Council never complained
about what government had done
nor did it bring legal proceedings to claim that tractor
they talked to a newspaper. Dwl said he has never gone to Lekokoaneng
since this happened nor did he go to Ha Ntsuba.
Dwl said he does not
know the lands on which the tractor works. He did not know
tractor was parked after work. Dwl also said he did not know if the
plaintiff used the tractor for himself or his purposes.
Dwl said he
does not know the lands of plaintiff at Lekokoaneng Ha Ntusba.
further questions from plaintiffs counsel Dwl said the tractor that
was used by the Thuathe Village Development Council
had broken down
and it was not functioning. It is presently parked at the home of
Morenne Machake. In the year 2003 that tractor
had already broken
down. when the newspaper reporter came to them. It was at that stage
that they said things about plaintiff.
They never said plaintiff was
using the tractor for his own benefit. This does not come from the
Thuathe Community. They never
had with the Lekokoaneng people a joint
appointment with the police. They do not know if the Lekokoaneng
people met the police
before or after they had been to the police.
The police were saying may be, Dr Phororo and the plaintiff had
those tractors. Dwl denied that they misused
their tractors carrying football players with it, and were claiming
the tractor that
has been with the Lekokoaneng people because it was
still functioning - while theirs has broken down.
witness that followed as the second defence witness - Dw2 was Caswell
Tlali. He said he resides at Lekokoaneng Ha Fusi. Thuathe
was on the
Berea plateau. Lekokoaneng Ha Fusi is a neighbouring village to
Lekokoaneng is Ha Ntsuba. Lekokoaneng is a considerable
Thuathe. but he was unable to estimate the distance between the two
he was the third defendant employed by the Mirror newspaper, the
first defendant. In May and June 2003 - Dw2 said he was
for the article "Is Maleho the Rightful Owner or the People?"
He came across this story as he was investigating
a quarrel between
chiefs. He heard of the story of the tractor. The people said the
tractor was being used by plaintiff. Dw2 went
to investigate from the
old committee. He went to Montsi Namane the fourth Defendant and
Moseme Lephoi the defendant who is Dwl.
he found from Montsi Namane that the Thuathe Development Council
owned two tractors. One tractor had been used by them
while the other
tractor was used by plaintiff. They had asked for the two tractors
from donors at the time Phororo was minister.
Phororo had told them
that plaintiff would be given one of the tractors in terms of the
donors. That tractor would serve the Thuathe community and another
community. The tractor given to plaintiff was given for the
of the Lekokoaneng community. The other tractor would he used,
exclusively by the Thuathe community. Phororo chose to give
Lekokoaneng community a tractor through the plaintiff. Dwl said at
one time the tractors were seized by the police.
the court he went to the traffic department to check the ownership of
the tractor allegedly given to the Lekokoaneng Community
plaintiff. The traffic Department denied him access to the records
without police authorization. The police denied him
confirmed what Dw2 had been told. He said he gave plaintiff the other
tractor because he had lands at Thuathe plateau
investigation led to him to the police dockets when he heard that the
police once seized both tractors. The police docket
that was opened
against plaintiff was RCI 174/8/90 and the police docket opened
against Phororo was RCI 175/8/90. The complainant
in both dockets was
the Principal Secretary for Agriculture.
the court that he went to plaintiffs home but did not find plaintiff
Me again went on a Saturday but still did not find
plaintiff He then
went to the Marematlou Freedom Party Office to look for plaintiff He
found the door burglar-guarded and locked.
Later a party official he
knew showed him a passage through which to gain access to the office.
The official in the office said
plaintiff was out of the country.
intention of writing the story was to inform the nation. He also
thought that through the publication of the story the tractor
could help the Thuathe people to get the tractor which is a property
that belonged to them. Dw2 said he had no intention of
plaintiff Dwl told the court that he respects people of the age of
plaintiff who are of the approximate age of his parents
bore plaintiff no ill-will. Dw2 also said he would not just defame
plaintiff because as a political leader who should
have the dignity
and respect of the nation. He reported what he found.
Dw2 denied he was sitting in court and that he went to Pw2's husband
to find out what she was going to say. No witnesses
were brought by
plaintiff to substantiate this allegation.
the court in answer to questions that his home was at Lekokoaneng ha
Fusi very close to Lekokoaneng Ha Ntsuba. D\v2 told
the court that he
did not investigate allegations at Ha Ntsuba about plaintiffs use of
the tractor. He never talked to any one
at Ha Ntsuba because there
were no allegations against them. Dw2 told the court he does not know
plaintiffs home at Ha Ntsuba -
but plaintiff has relatives there. He
was aware that there was a Malebo plant at ha Mabote or Naledi. He
saw that tractor where
there is a Malebo Plant at Ha Mabote or
Naledi. He saw that tractor where Malebo machinery was kept. Dw2 said
he did not know if
it was there for only one day. Dw2 said he was not
sure if it was plaintiff's plant. He also did not know if the tractor
for a service. He does not dispute that the place belongs to
Rapuleng Carlye Malebo who is the Director of Malebo Transport and
the Director of Malebo Transport and Hire. He does not deny the place
also repairs machinery.
answer to questions said never any documents or agreements from a
donor. The words that plaintiff used the tractor for himself
form Namane the fourth defendant as representative of the Thuathe
Community. If the words are not true that would be defamatory.
tried to find this out unsuccessfully. An ordinary man would note
that this is an allegation that
is a cheat. Dr Phororo did what he did as a minister of government.
He could do it without government approval as the
tractor belonged to
the Thuathe Development Council. In the newspaper article Dw2 said he
did not mention that he went to plaintiffs
home, but denied that
statement is an after thought.
about what plaintiff was about what plaintiff was alleged to have
done in the police docket, replied that he did not get
fully what he
wanted because it was concealed - but plaintiff was accused of fraud.
Dw2 said he did not subsequently approach plaintiff
because since the story has been published plaintiff has a right to
reply through the same medium. That is the norm.
the court that since he did not handle plaintiffs complaint, Mirror
(the newspaper) did not retract the statement. Dw2
plaintiff was defamed. Plaintiff had dignity and reputation to
protect through a publication (in reply) in the same
medium. It would
not improve his standing if he did cheat as alleged. In
re-examination Dw2 said the word cheat does not appear
witness of the defendants (DW3) was Montsi Namane - the fourth
defendant. He told the court that he resides at the plateau
Thuathe. In the nineties he was a farmer. He was in the Thuathe
Village Development Council. He was the secretary of that committee.
had explained to them that he had found them a tractor. Phororo. was
a minister and as minister he took their names. When
the tractor had
come, it was handed to them and it worked for them. The police took
that tractor. It was then that Phororo said
the tractors were two. He
had given plaintiff a tractor to help people who planted vegetables.
He said the tractor was supposed
serve two villages. That tractor
never served their village.
tractors were not released immediately by the police. It had been
alleged that Phororo was using the tractor at his home. The
complainant had been the Ministry of Agriculture. When a new minister
had been appointed they went to complain to the new minister
they have been deprived of the help they had been given as the police
were keeping their tractor. During this period Dw3 had
who asked what was going and was told by Dw3.
they were told to go and lake their tractor because the tractors were
now at the Ministry of Agriculture. They were given
the tractor that
they had been using all along. D\v3 told the court that they asked no
one about the other tractor.
newspaper man called Caswell came to ask them about their
development.. D\v3 said he told the newspaper man about the two
that were taken by the police. Dw3 told him about the other
tractor that had been given by Phororo to plaintiff on the
that it would work at Lekokoaneng and Thuathe. Dw3 told
the court that at the police station he saw that both tractors were
in the name of Thuathe Village Development council. An
explanation was made to them by Dr Phororo when they heard the other
also belongs to them. Dw3 said he does not know where the
other tractor is. He never followed up the tractor that was at
cross-examination denied that he ever said to the newspaper man that
plaintiff was using the tractor on his own behalf
or for himself as
was written on page 2 of the newspaper article "Is Malebo the
Rightful owner or the people. Dw3 said he
told the journalist that
tractor was supposed to
Lekokoaneng and Thuathe when it was given to plaintiff. Dw3 said the
tractor was supposed to work for the community, he
never said to the
journalist that plaintiff was using it on his own behalf. The defence
closed its case and the parties addressed
counsel Mr Ntlhoki made the following submission on behalf of
crux or the sting of the defendant's defamation of plaintiff was
that the publication stated that the tractor registered A
was donated for the communities of Thuathe and Lekokoaneng was
appropriated by plaintiff. The publication claimed
it for his own benefit to the exclusion of those two communities.
Mirror is a newspaper which circulates in Lesotho and has
readership. This fact defendants do not deny.
status of plaintiff as a party political leader, a former Cabinet
minister and a prominent citizen in the country including
Lesotho Evangelical church is also not denied.
tractors were obtained from FAO for use by farmers by Dr Phororo the
Minister of Agriculture. One tractor was given to the
Community and the other to the Lekokoaneng Community of which
plaintiff was leader. At that time plaintiff was also a
minister. This fact is common cause
tractor registration A<S265 which was given to the Lekokoaneng
community of which plaintiff was leader was registered in
of Thauthe Village Development council.
the issue of 28th to 3rd May 2003 the Mirror published two articles.
Is Malebo rightful owner or the people?"
"We want our tractor."
noted that the publication that the defendants claim that the
publication was justifiable, fair, lawful and in the public
consequently plaintiff was not entitle to damages for defamation.
defendants made the following points in asking for the dismissal of
plaintiffs claim with costs.
statements are substantially true and the publication was in the
comments were fair and based true facts.
publication even if defamatory was not wrongful because it was
legitimate and justified by surrounding facts and circumstances.
was absence of negligence on the part of the media before
publication of the news items.
in Wille's Principles of South African Law 8th Edition page 685 says
this about defamation:-
"'Unlike an action for damages under the Aquilian law. where the
elements have to be established prima facie, the plaintiff
action for damages for defamation need establish only wrongful
conduct in the form of publication of matter injurious to
plaintiffs reputation (generally termed defamatory matter). Once
wrongful conduct has been proved, the other elements of liability
presumed to exist: since proof of the publication of defamatory
matter concerning the plaintiff prima facie establishes wrongfulness,
wrongfulness is obviously presumed and therefore the plaintiff need
not prove any further facts (such as the absence of grounds
justification) in order to secure a conclusion of wrongfulness.
Moreover, upon proof of publication of defamatory matter fault
(animus iniuriandi) is also presumed, as is causation and injury' to
the plaintiffs reputation."
words defamation is an actio injuriarum although there are
circumstances in which it can have elements of the Acquilian
People are entitled to have the dignity and reputations respected.
This right of an individual can only be invaded if there
justification and that in the public interest. In such circumstances
this invasion of the individuals right to a good name and
Ramainoane & another v M. Sello 1999 - 2000 LLR & Legal
Bulletin 411 at page 413 Kumleben JA dealing with defences
action of defamation approving National media Ltd & Others v
Bogoshi 1998 (4) SA 1198 said:
"(i) That there arc no closed number of defences available to
such a defendant in a defamation action, (page 1204 D)
(ii) That, with reference to the delictual element of unlawfulness
(wrongfulness). It is open to such a defendant to prove that
publication, having regard to all relevant circumstances, was
reasonable: or. obversely stated, that it was not recklessly
negligently published, (page 1212 G)
(iii) That the onus in the full sense of the term rests upon a
defendant to prove facts justifying the conclusion that the newspaper
article was lawfully published. (Page 1215 B-H)
(iv) And that, as regards the requirement of fault in a delictual
action, absence of intention (animus injuriandi), in the sense
consciousness of wrongdoing, cannot be relied upon, (page 1214 F-l).
by aspiring to lead a democratic state put their lives under the
spotlight. However their circumstances differ government
who take responsibility for what is done in their departments in
their name. It is on those grounds that the Minister
government could be generally attacked in M. Mahanyele v Mail &
Guardian & Another 2004 (6) SA 320. But when she
personally by suggesting she favours personal friends by awarding
them government contracts, this became actionable.
newspaper had to show that its publication was not unlawful and was
justified by surrounding circumstances and
was not unfair. How far
the press can publish defamatory matter within the law, even if
depends on the circumstances of each particular case. If the
publication has not been recklessly and unfairly made - and
it is in
the public interest, the press like any individual is protected in a
deal has happened in our law of defamation under the constitution.
Strict liability of the media has been gradually replaced
rational and balanced approach. Even in the past courts, court
emphasized freedom of speech while seeking to protect reputations.
Nevertheless their decisions vacillated. In a democracy the
importance of the media in the defence of democracy, transparency and
free speech has increased. Nevertheless 1 consider this passage from
page 715 in Botha v Pretoria Printing Works 1905 TS 710 per
important and relevant today as it was when the judgment was given:
"The public acts of public men are, of course matters of public
interest, and criticism upon them does a great deal of good
corrupt motives are not imputed. But the character of a public man is
not only a precious possession to himself, but is,
in a real sense a
public asset. If any person knows anything against the character of a
public man which makes him unfit for the
position he occupies, such a
person is not only justified, but bound, if he occupies a position
which casts a duty upon him, to
inform the public of the facts, and
substantiate them for the public benefit if necessary."
words, if corrupt motives arc imputed, they must be backed up by
surrounding facts. In modem times the press is easily
it has made an investigation and not recklessly published facts, even
where there are inaccuracies here and there.
parties are in agreement that the publication "Is Malebo
rightful Owner or the people?" is about plaintiff. It is
true that the tractor A 8265 is registered in the name of Thuathe
Village Council. Consequently there is nothing untruthful
about this aspect of this publication. It is also a fact that
plaintiff had organized the Lekokoaneng people and was
Minutes of the pre-trial conference and the further particulars that
were made subsequent to the pre-trial conference which
were made on
behalf of plaintiff, it is admitted that the tractor A 8265 was in
plaintiffs possession. I was puzzled by the fact
before court denied that the tractor in question was in his
possession. Plaintiff admitted that the tractor was
kept in the place
where he kept his harvester. It also transpired the tractor was kept
at the home of plaintiffs late aunt who
had adopted plaintiffs son
Tau. Consequently even without plaintiffs admission in the
minutes and subsequent further particulars, it was fair for the
Thuathe people to conclude that the tractor was in plaintiffs
being the case the fourth and fifth defendants were entitled to be
dissatisfied that the tractor A8265 that was registered
in their name
was nol in their possession.
dissatisfaction was of course unreasonable because they had been
content to have their one tractor that had been donated to
find therefore, that the fourth and fifth defendant (with the help of
the press were entitled publicly to express their
about the other tractor registered in their name but never in their
possession. In Del ta Motor Corporation (Pty)
Ltd v Van Der Merwe
2004 (6) SA 185 at page 193 F to 194 A Jones AJA said:
"Once the statement about Delta's product is shown to be Prima
facie defamatory, the onus is on the respondent to show that
publication thereof was not wrongful. The respondent seeks to do so
by relying on the exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
defence is that of fair comment there has always been tension between
the right to freedom of expression, which is protected
alia, the defence of fair comment, and rights to dignity, fama, and
an unsullied reputation, which are protected by the
For the defence of fair comment to succeed, the respondent must prove
that the statement in question was a comment or opinion and
allegation of fact: that it was fair; that the allegations of fact
commented upon were true and accurately stated; and that
was about a matter of public interest..."
publication was lawful in informing the public and up to this point
even its comments were fair.
it does not follow that the following passages in the circumstances
of the case are necessarily unlawful even where
they have a flavour
'The Leader of the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Vincent Malebo,
has a lot to explain to the community of Thuathe, Baruting,
Tractor belonging to the Thauthe Development Council, which is
regularly used by him, without their consent."
"Even though Phororo was one of us, we shied away when we were
supposed to question the manner in which our tractor was given
Malebo because he and Malebo were government minister."
When the police had confiscated tractors, we, members of the Thuathe
Development Council, went to the police station to prove to
police that tractors were rightfully in our possession. The
Lekokoaneng Community was not represented and Malebo was nowhere
be seen. The absence of Lekhokoaneng Community representatives and
Malebo is the clear evidence that both tractors belong to
for if they had any legal rights to them they could have come to
release their tractor."
he observed that it is not true that plaintiff and the Lekokoaneng
people did not go to the police to claim the tractor-
it is excusable
for Dwl and D\v5 to say they did not. because they did not see them.
The evidence that D\v2 the journalist employed
by the Mirror and the
publication itself show clearly that Dw2 made an effort to ascertain
the fact that the tractor was in fact
registered in the name of
Thuathe Village Development Council. His investigations were thwarted
by the Traffic Department, but
he put himself in a position that he
considered it adequate and safe to publish the story even though he
had failed to meet plaintiff.
clear the Thuathe people were justified to complain about the tractor
which was registered in their name but which never got
possession. However these words read with other passages can give
other words within the context of the article as a
meaning. Consequently Mr Ntlhoki counsel for the Plaintiff focused on
the following words allegedly from Namane (fourth
defendant) in the
article "Is Malebo the rightful owner."
"I saw documents that showed that both tractors were donated to
Thuathe Community. I was only amazed when another Tractor
to Malebo to use on his behalf, although it was officially said it
would help Lekokoaneng Community."
words were backed the following words also allegedly from fourth
defendant (Namane). from the article "We want our tractor."
"I was only amazed when another tractor was gi\en to Malebo to
use it for his personal benefit, although it was officially
would help the community?"
plaintiffs Declaration, the following is said about these words:
words in the context of (he article are wrongful and defamatory of
Plaintiff in that they were intended and were understood
of the First Defendant that Plaintiff is dishonest, a cheat and
corrupt in the following respects:
15.1 He used his position and standing to cheat and obtain a tractor
15.2 He misappropriated the community's tractor
15.3 He is a thief;
15.4 He is a criminal.
in his evidence says these words have diminished the esteem he is
held. The Mirror did not hear his side of the story.
It failed to
retract what it had published even when he demanded it should do so.
Plaintiff said his reputation is hard earned.
Consequently he claims
damages of M700 000.00. Once people read that he robs communities of
a tractor under the cloak of being
a politician his reputation was
third defendant (in cross-examination) conceded that the ordinary
member of the public would understand the above words
plaintiff is a cheat if they were not true.
these words that plaintiffs counsel argues mean that plaintiff stole
the tractor or committed theft by false pretences. In
counsel for plaintiff has concentrated on the allegation that
plaintiff had used the tractor for himself although
the tractor had
come into his possession so that it could be used by the Lekokoaneng
Community of which he has admitted to have
been part of, at the time.
problem I have is that Dr Phororo the Minister of Agriculture of the
day was not called by either side. Plaintiff says he never
Dr Phororo who was his cabinet colleague. That might be possible
because what is done by the Public servants is deemed
to have been
done by the minister. The minister may say what was done on his
behalf was done by him. In any event it is not disputed
that the tractor was supposed to be used for the benefit of the
people of Lekokoaneng. What plaintiff disputes is
discussed anything with Dr Phororo when the tractor was handed over.
was fourth defendant says two tractors were obtained for the Thuathe
Community but Dr Phororo told them plaintiff asked
him to give the
other tractor to the Lekokoaneng community. Dwl does not clarify-when
he came to know of this fact. However, D\v3
the fourth defendant says
the Thuathe Village Development Council did not know of the existence
of the tractor that was given to
plaintiff and the Lekokoaneng
Community. Dr Phororo only told them of it at the time the police had
seized both tractors. Before
that they knew of only one tractor that
they had asked for and was provided by Dr Phororo who was member of
the Thuathe Village
Development Council. They had been satisfied to
have their one tractor back from the police - even after they had
come to know
that the other tractor was registered in their name.
comparing the evidence of Dwl and Dw3 I came to the conclusion that
on this point Dwl was making vague generalizations. Dw3 however
specific and clear that they had no knowledge of the other tractor
that was in the hands of the Lekokoaneng community and plaintiff
until Dr Phororo told
misused theirs. All I can say is that they showed little concern for
the tractor that they claim as their property. It
is also significant
that the journalist himself (D\v2 or third defendant) who lives at
Lekokoaneng was just as uninterested in
the way the tractor was used
and by whom. A reasonable man would (in preparation for trial) have
checked this fact and tried to
find witnesses about plaintiffs use of
the tractor for himself at Lekokoaneng - even though he had not made
such an investigation
before. He (Dw2) published the article. I have
come to the conclusion that third defendant (Dw2) the journalist,
(Dw3) and fifth defendant (Dwl) are not telling me
the truth. Dwl and Dw3 told the journalist about the tractor because
learned it was in running order. The fact that they are not
truthful on this point does not lead me to the conclusion that Dw2
the journalist reported what Dw3 said accurately.
is left with the journalist, the editor of the newspaper called the
Mirror, and the Mirror itself, the first, second and
defendants. It is necessary to deal with the law in respect of the
press and the news media generally.
of Parkendorf & Another x De Flamingh 1 982 (3) SA 146 AD has put
the liability of the media too high when it said
the media has strict
liability in case of defamation and the attendant unlawful
publication. Perhaps RumpffCJ was influenced by
the immense and
extensive publicity that results from publication in the media.
Lesotho's constitution does not refer to the press
as having a
special freedom as the South African constitution does. Even so, the
South African courts have so far treated press
freedom as freedom of
expression - as the Lesotho Constitution does in its Section 14.
Consequently the press does no have a greater
liability than an
individual. The press in its publications merely exercises the
freedom of expression that an individual has.
defendant who publishes defamatory matter is not entitled to barely
assert that what he publishes is justifiable, fair and in
interest without showing how. Consequently Hefer JA said in the case
of National Media Ltd & Others v Bogoshi 1998
(4) SA 1196 at page
"The plaintiff is required to allege the defendant acted
unlawfully and ammo injuriandi and it is for the defendant either
admit or deny the allegations, bare denial is not enough: the
defendant is required to justify his denial of unlawfulness or
inuriandi as the case may be."
first, second and third defendant all of whom are responsible for the
article in question do not seem doubt any more that they
when they said plaintiff used the tractor for his sole benefit and
not the Lekokoaneng people as was expected when
the tractor was
given. Even if they are mistaken they have to escape liability if
they can show that from the surrounding facts
that they had not
recklessly made the allegation. If they can show that the surrounding
facts support the conclusion they reached
even if they were mistaken,
that might make the publication reasonable and fair- consequently not
article "Is Malebo rightful Owner or the people?" Two
communities that constitute the people are mentioned, that
who reside at Thuathe and those who reside at Lekokoaneng. Dw2 the
journalist who is also the third defendant says he
was not interested
in the Lekokoaneng community because the tractor was not registered
in their name. Indeed his investigations
(as his evidence shows) were
confined to the issue of registration of the tractor. Yet according
to Dw2 in his interview of Dr
Phororo (the person who obtained the
tractors from a donor;
"He said the Food and agricultural Organization gave him the
tractors on condition, that the other tractor should be used
agricultural projects of at least two communities rather than be used
by Thuathe alone. "I decided to involve Malebo because
he had agricultural sites at Thuathe and I thought he would use the
tractor I would give him in both the Lekokoaneng and Thuathe
communities... It is true that both tractors belonged to Thuathe
community but as for the other one it was partly theirs, because
donors had emphasized that it should at least help two communities."
been denied access to files that proved that the tractor in question
was registered in the name of Thuathe Village Development
had only established from that Dr Phororo that the other tractor that
ended up in plaintiffs possession only partially
belonged to the
Thuathe Community. The tractor (from what D\v2 had reported) had been
donated for joint use with the Lekokoaneng
community - from what Dr
Phororo the Minister of Agriculture of the day had said. It is
puzzling that Dw2 did not find it necessary
or important to find out
from the Lekokoaneng community whether plaintiff had fulfilled the
alleged expection of Dr Phororo to
use the tractor for the benefit of
the Lekokoaneng community. Dw2 had already made the demand of the
Thuathe community for the
tractor known in another article. In
focusing on the plaintiffs possession of the tractor the logical
factor to investigate was
whether he had done what was expected of
him by asking the people of Lekokoaneng what was going on with the
concerns arise because plaintiff accuses Dw3 of recklessly and
publishing defamatory and false matter about him. The reasonableness
of D\v2s conduct is being called into question
to counter the
assertion that the publication was not reasonable and lawfully made.
Dw2 had in his possession an allegation that
plaintiff and Dr Phororo
had been accused by the Principal Secretary for Agriculture of fraud
in respect of the two tractors before
the police. As a result of that
allegation the police had opened two dockets against them and seized
the tractors. The two tractors
were later separately released to the
Thuathe Community and the Lekokoaneng community. The complaint of
fourth and fifth defendant
was that they got their tractor but
plaintiff and the Lekokoaneng Community had the other tractor
released to them although they
had not been to the police. Since
plaintiff had been accused of fraud before the police, it was
necessary to investigate from the
Lekokoaneng people whether he had
continued the fraud of getting a tractor from the Ministry of
Agriculture by claiming back the
tractor promising he would use it
for the Lekokoaneng Community when he was not going to do so. This
information could only be
obtained from the Lekokoaneng'people. Dw2
could only approach plaintiff for comment after he was in possession
of the facts if
he so desired - but once he had the facts it might
not be necessary to do so.
is third defendant lives at Lekokoaneng Ha Fusi a neighbouring
village from that of Lekokoaneng Ha Fusi Ntsuba where plaintiff
the farming group he leads live. It becomes very difficult to
understand why Dw2 did not go and find out what was going on
neighbouring village before he published the article. It is also a
mystery that when preparing for trial he did not investigate
plaintiff was using the tractor for his own benefit or "on his
own behalf at Lekokoaneng Ha Fusi contrary to what
expected through Dr Phororo, when it gave him the tractor for use by
the Lekokoaneng community of which plaintiff was
leader. Dw2 (under
cross-examination) conceded that the words complained of give the
impression that plaintiff has been acting
fraudulently by obtaining a
tractor and using it for his own benefit or on "his personal
JA in Mthembi - Mahanyele v Mail & Guardian and Another (supra)
at page 365 F-H, dealing the balance that must be maintained
freedom of expression and the protection of the individual's
reputation and dignity said:
"In my view, ministers of state, as everybody else, are not
above criticism in relation to the execution of their duties as
members of government - and such criticism is indeed a good thing for
purposes of public debate ad discussion in a democratic society...
But unchecked, unjustifiable imputations of dishonesty detract from a
proper use of freedom of
expression and disrupt the balance referred to in paragraph (98)
above. I consider fair reporting and the retention by a cabinet
Minister of the right to sue. not to be strange bedfellow. They can
easily subsist side by side, without the right to freedom of
expression being compromised."
underlined the word "unchecked" above because I consider
first-second and third defendant to have unnecessarily
unchecked defamatory matter without attempting to verify it. In their
case they negligently neglected to check what
they could easily have
checked because the journalist who is third defendant could easily
have checked the facts as he lived in
a neighbouring village from
where the focus of the publication was.
"It was evidently designed for entertainment rather than
instruction. It sought to be irreverent rather informative."
Vide Ponnan AJA's remarks at page 362 DE in Mthembi -Mahanyele v Mail
& Guardian & Another.
in the process, plaintiffs character was in this case disparaged.
third defendant in his evidence said plaintiffs redress was to
publish a refutation in the Mirror not to institute legal
straight away. Kumleben JA in Ramainoane v Sello (supra) at page 413
dealing with a similar issue said:
"This is without merit. Section 14 (4) of the Constitution
grants a right to a person aggrieved by a public pronouncement
have it corrected. No duty is imposed and there can be no question of
the forfeiture of a cause of action if such a right is
evidence before me I find plaintiff was unlawfully defamed when the
Mirror published an untrue story that plaintiff was using
for his own benefit or on his own behalf when he was expected to use
it for the Lekokoaneng community. The first, second
defendants were grossly negligent in not checking the veracity of the
story - even though third defendant lives in the
village. The fourth and fifth defendant are found not liable because
they claim what they said was distorted by the
first, second and third respondents are found jointly and severally
liable for unlawfully defaming plaintiff.
As Nel J
has said in Young v Shaik 2004 (3) SA 46 at page 57 J "having
regard to the often expressed reluctance of our courts
to award huge
amounts as damages for defamatory statements" I will be as
moderate as I can. Even so, I must say the press
on this occasion
fell well below accepted standards. I note plaintiff denied
possession of the tractor when he had admitted in
he does keep that tractor for the people of Lekokoaneng. Evidence in
fact showed that the tractor was kept at the home
of Tau who is
plaintiffs son - at a centre plaintiff established for the
Lekokoaneng people. The defendants have succeeded on the
plaintiffs possession of the tractor that in law should belong to
them albeit assigned to the Lekokoaneng community. This
others I take into account.
result first, second and third defendants jointly and severally are
ordered to pay plaintiff.
in the amount of M60 000.00 ( sixty thousand Maluti)
will be no order as to costs - at plaintiffs request.
Plaintiff: Mr Ntlhoki
Defendants: Miss Thabane
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