In the matter between:
RAMASIKE N. RAMASIKE Respondent
Delivered by the Hon. Mrs Justice A. M. Hlajoane on 13th June, 2011.
This is an appeal against judgment of the Judicial Commissioner’s Court. The matter started at Koro-Koro Local Court. This case revolves around the concept of share cropping. Share cropping being where one party who cannot afford financially and otherwise to plough arable land lawfully allocated to him, invites another party to strike a deal with him in ploughing his land and the two to share the proceeds during harvest time.
It came out from evidence in the previous hearing and in argument before this Court that appellant had five fields. Those five fields each had a name, viz;
5. Below qhuqhu
Evidence as to how many fields out of the five, formed part of the agreement in the scheme of share cropping is not the same for the appellant and the respondent. According to the appellant only three fields were to be ploughed under the share cropping scheme and ‘Mamatsoele not being one of the three fields affected.
But according to the respondent the field ‘Mamatsoele also formed part of the fields for the share cropping. What the Court had to determine was whether or not ‘Mamatsoele formed part of the agreement in the share cropping scheme. The Judicial Commissioner’s Court had confirmed the judgment of the Court of first instance which found for the respondent.
Apellant’s grounds for appeal have been that the Judicial Commissioner’s Court erred in confirming the decision of the Court of first instance despite conflicting evidence concerning the field ‘Mamatsoele. Also that the Court erred in confirming that judgment despite the fact that the claim was based on speculation.
Appellant as shown earlier on, pointed out that he had retained the field ‘Mamatsoele for his own use, and that was not denied by the respondent. What respondent said was that, true enough appellant had initially proposed that the field ‘Mamatsoele be retained by him, but they ended up agreeing that ‘Mamatsoele should also form part of the share cropping scheme.
Appellant further referred the Court to paragraphs of the record where he felt there were some contradictions in evidence. The relevant parts are in the English version page 14. This was when Napo Ramasike was cross examined by ‘Makhoabane.
Q; Didn’t I say ‘Mamatsoele was a field solely for my children; I am not ploughing it on share cropping?
A; You were just talking that at ‘Mamatsoele you wanted to plant vegetables, to which I replied, I didn’t care about vegetables, you could do that.
Referred also to page 4 of the record where present respondent cross examined the appellant.
Q; Didn’t I tell you that the field at ‘Mamatsoele was solely for my children?
A; We talked about the situation but ultimately agreed on share croping.
Respondent’s counsel agreed that there was no contradiction in both what is referred to at page 4 and 14 of the record. He said page 4 only explained that ‘Mamatsoele ended up being included in the share cropping and that page 14 only said that appellant could also plough some vegetables on the same field.
To buttress his point even further the respondent’s counsel referred the Court to page 24 of the record where appellant was asked this question;
Q; At which field did the tractor go on those you said were for share cropping?
A; It began at ‘Mamatsoele.
Which confirmed that he was aware and he knew that ‘Mamatsoele was amongst the fields that formed part of share cropping.
Appellant had also argued that the Court erred in accepting mere speculation on the yield from the fields. Also that there has been no proof on the size of the field and that there had been no case made out by the respondent from the Local Court up to the Judicial Commissioner’s Court.
In responding to above, respondent submitted that it was no specution on what respondent told the Court about the yield that came from the field particularly where pumpkin was ploughed. He referred the Court to page 5 of the record where appellant cross examined the respondent on the number of pumpkins that were collected from the fields.
Q; Do you say pumpkin was there?
Q; How much pumpkins?
A; About 400
He said though he did not count he saw the pumpkin where it was collected and came up with that estimation.
In making its decision the Court a quo when dealing with the question of the yield of maize and kaffir corn from ‘Mamatsoele said plaintiff had proved its case.
At page 44 of the record there has been contradictory evidence between the evidence of the first defendant and the second defendant regarding the maize seeds that were used at ‘Mamatsoele.
The first defendant in the Court a quo had shown that it was his seeds that he received from his son-in-law Thabo Mokhothu who in turn had bought the seeds from Maseru. But second defendant said in his evidence that no, the seed was a grant. Hence why the Court believed the story by the Plaintiff when he said he had supplied the maize seeds for ‘Mamatsoele.
The Court realizes that it was correct to have believed the story of the respondent when he said ‘Mamatsoele also formed part of the fields under share cropping. This having been confirmed by the appellant herself under cross examination when she showed that the tractor when ploughing fields under share cropping had started at ‘Mamatsoele.
On the evidence as was presented before Court, I find that the Judicial Commissioner’s Court was correct in finding for the respondent, and the Court is therefore not going to interfere with the decision that was made.
The appeal is thus dismissed with costs.
A. M. HLAJOANE
For Appellant: Mr Monyako
For Respondent: Mr Ntsene
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