HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
Matter of :
MAKHELE 1st Defendant
OF THE INTERIOR 2nd Defendant
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 10th day of May, 1993
closure of the plaintiff's case Mr. Maqutu for the 1st defendant
moved an application for the discharge of the 1st defendant.
motivating this application which was opposed by Mr. Mohau for the
plaintiff, Mr. Maqutu submitted that there was no prima facie
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
plaintiff's while in other circumstances less favourable to the 1st
defendant he would have been content with
for absolution from the instance only.
tendered in evidence Exhibit "A" - a form C issued
according to date stamp on 2nd January 1973. The contents
"A" reflect that Mots'eare Macheli (the deceased husband of
the plaintiff) was allocated a business site at
Mejametalana, measuring 200 & 27 feet.
reject the argument by the 1st defendant's attorney that the
ampersand sign & between 200 and 27 should be interpreted
showing that the plaintiff's site is just a straight line. Indeed in
evidence the plaintiff denied that her site is a straight
interpretation of this ampersand sign is that it represents a
multiplication sign x. For purposes of my judgment nothing
turn on this specious argument.
ground on which my decision is based consists in the following :-
claimed by the plaintiff is a business site according to what the
Form C she submitted reflects.
of the Deeds Registry Act 1967 such a site had to be registered
according to law. Section 2(3) gives plain meaning in its
"This Act shall not be applicable to rural areas with
exception of such areas within a rural area which are used for
commerce and industry, including prospecting for minerals and mining
seem therefore that to the extent that Mejametalana area which falls
within Thamae area where this site is situated is
a rural area and
that the site is itself a business site, it does not conform to the
provisions of this law which treats them with
exception from sites
which are exempt from registration as Section 15 more fully provides.
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 title to occupy or use."
"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,"
(4) in plain language states that failure to comply with subsections
(2) and (3) as to prescribed periods within which
to apply to the
registrar for a registered
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.
in the plaintiff's papers or evidence shows that she paid any
attention to the provisions of the law cited above. Her failure
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
her failure revert to the "Basuto" Nation.
shows that she made any attempt to approach the registrar or the
courts of law for extension of the periods which section
being the case the plaintiff asks for what has reverted to the
"Basuto" Nation. It seems to me that on that alone
court cannot award to her what no longer belongs to her as it has
reverted to the "Basuto" Nation.
making any pronouncement as to what rights, if any, the 1st defendant
has to this land the plaintiff's failure to comply
requirements of the law give her no title to this land. It is
arguable whether the 1st defendant himself has any title.
Court is satisfied that the 1st defendant in
for his right to apply for the discharge of the claim against him
took a risk well-worth taking.
not been necessary to consider the plaintiff's locus standi in
judicio for Mr. Maqutu abandoned any pursuit of the matter
regard notwithstanding that sufficient evidence had made it apparent
that the plaintiff was somewhat acting independently
of her husband.
However it serves no purpose to overdo things. A single arrow
directed at the heart of a stag renders it unnecessary
stab it lest the skin be destroyed.
defendant's application for the discharge of the plaintiff's case
against him is granted with costs.
Plaintiff: Mr. MAQOTE
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