HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter between :
MOLAPO 1ST PLAINTIFF
LINKO 2ND PLAINTIFF
HIGH SCHOOL 1ST DEFENDANT
SHIDI 2ND DEFENDANT
PRINCIPAL MASABIELLA HIGH SCHOOL 3RD DEFENDANT
by the Honourable Mr. Justice T. Monapathi on the 13th day of
I did not
find any problem in awarding these Plaintiffs their claim which were
contained in their summons dated the 25th August,
Defendants were served with the summons on the 6th September 1995.
The Defendants did not respond in any of the ways
allowed in the
rules of Court. The Plaintiffs therefore applied for default
judgment. They furthermore asked for amendments to
prayers 3 and 4 to
read 18% instead of 2.5% and
of M221.82 for the First Plaintiff's claim under prayer 3 and
substitution of M1281.40 for Second Plaintiff's claim
under prayer 4.
This I allowed. They put in viva voce evidence of the Plaintiffs
themselves in prove of their claims. They did
because prayers 1 and 2
which were for damages, which were unliquidated claims.
things that surround to the events leading to the cause of the claims
were a bit obscure. This had to do with the nature of
claims. There cannot always be a full and complete inquiry as we
understand it in this kind of claims. I need not dwell
things inasmuch as I thought however that, the Plaintiffs were able
to prove their claims.
been a students' trip to Swaziland in which the Plaintiffs, as
teachers, accompanied the students. The conduct of the
trip was not
quite satisfactory. The School management of Masabielleng High
School, at which these Plaintiffs were teachers, at
time, associated Che problems of the trip or the unsatisfactory
conduct of the students with the' influence of Plaintiffs.
Plaintiff were popular with Che students. It is against this
background that sometime in October 1993 the students
students's strike resulted in a meeting of the students parents which
was called by the school management committee. In that
Second Defendant while acting as the school management committee
Chairman, said words to the effect that the Plaintiffs
perpetrators or fomenters of the strike because of their ambitions to
head the school. The words were nearly as follows
when rendered in
Sesotho: "Batsoali, batho bana ke bona ba bakang moferefere ke
bona ba hlohlelletsi ba seteraeke sena se
translated: "Parents, this people are the people who cause
commotion and who encourage this present strike."
given no opportunity to reply and went out humiliated. The meeting
then dispensed. The strike was later quelled.
result of the said meeting the Plaintiffs have been uncomfortable in
the knowledge that their characters and reputations have
gone low in
the estimation of the parents and villagers. They were now unpopular
and became fearful that harm would come to them
as a result of the
defamatory statements by the Second Respondent, made before the
Plaintiffs then intended to resign at the month of. December 1993.
This they did, to take effect from the month of January 1994.
school management and the Third Respondent withheld their different
salary cheques for the month of December 1993. The reason
the funds contained in the cheques would be applied for repair of
property damaged during the strike. These cheques have
to date not
been paid to the Plaintiffs. The respective amounts of the monthly
cheques have been proved by the pay slips which
have been handed as
Exhibits "A" for M1221.32 and Exhibit "B" for
M1281.40. I took the view chat the cheques
were unjustly withheld and
the claims in respect of the unlawful refusal to pay over the
cheques, ought to succeed.
find that the Plaintiffs were unlawfully defamed. One of the
consequences of this defamation wag that having applied for
of teachers at some schools the allegation that they were responsible
to the strike at the First Defendant's school were
and caused the authorities' thereat to refuse to consider their
applications. They are now luckily employed as
teachers after going
through the agony.
the following Order : That the claims were allowed as follows:
to the First Plaintiff as damages to defamation.
for the Second Plaintiff as damages to defamation.
to First Plaintiff for withheld salary.
to Second Plaintiff for withheld salary,
on the above amounts at the rate of 18%.
are awarded to the Plaintiffs on the ordinary scale.
amounts awarded to the Plaintiffs are to be paid by the Defendants
jointly and severally one paying to
other to be absolved.
Plaintiffs : Advocate B. Makotoko
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