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Gaborone North water power struggle reach CoA

Some Executive members of Moshawa Community Development in Gaborone North have this week filed to appeal the April High Court verdict which ruled that they be interdicted and restrained from performing their respective roles.

The appellants are former Botswana television (BTV) Executive producer and commissioning Editor, Linet Habana together with Siphiwe Mathendele and Khotso Lebatha. Habana was the Trust’s Secretary while Siphiwe was its Treasurer. Moshawa Community Development Committee is the respondent.

The prior High Court judgement by Justice Michael Leburu ordered the duo’s removal from the Executive committee which is responsible for overseeing the Gaborone North based Moshawa Community Development Trust water standpipe.

It is understood that at the centre of the dispute is the ownership and management of a water standpipe that provides portable water to the Gaborone North and Moshawa community.

The case has aligned public figures in opposing camps including law maker for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa, former cabinet minister Tebelelo Seretse, ex-Botswana Police Service spokesperson Christopher Mbulawa, Village Chief Magistrate Linah Mokibe-Oahile and other Attorneys living in the area.

Seretse and Mokibe (trustee) are with appellants while Nkaigwa and Mbulawa are with the respondent (Trust).    

Gaborone North currently bank on the standpipe for water supply. So far, the Trust has accrued over P1.5 million through use of the standpipe as there are domestic water connection or reticulation deficiencies in the area.

Speaking on behalf of Minister of Minerals, Water and Energy resources Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi, told parliament in November last year that there were currently no plans from the ministry to assist the residents of Gaborone North other than what the government had already done which was providing primary infrastructure.

He said benefits by the residents of Gaborone North can only take place if the developers design and construct tertiary reticulation to utilize the existing infrastructure.

WeekendPost has established that the millions raised through the standpipe created problems for the Gaborone North residents as it fuelled ‘divisions’ in the Moshawa Community Development Trust Executive Committee which was established to represent the Gaborone North dwellers.

This publication has further gathered that emanating from the overarching issues, is the operation of the account, where the proceeds derived from the sale of portable water from the said standpipe are kept.

It is understood that, owing to the warring factions in the Trust Executive Committee, residents sometimes had to go for a sometime without water.  

According to the appellants’ grounds of appeal filed recently, the High Court erred and misdirected itself in failing to consider all the evidence placed in the affidavits before coming up with the judgement.

Habana, Mathendele and Lebatha state that the court also erred in coming to the conclusion that the respondents were the owners of the standpipe and the Barclays bank account number 1049942(30) in issue.

In his verdict, Leburu had ruled that the trio be barred from acting as bank signatories to the said account held at Barclays bank under account number 1049942(30) in the name of GNorth/Moshawa Community Development Committee.

“Consequently the 4th respondents (Barclays) shall effect the decision to stop the 1st (Habana) and 2nd respondent (Mathendele) from transacting in the account referred to,” he ruled.

According to the appellants, the court a quo also erred and misdirected itself in failing to hold that the respondent has no locus standi in judicio owing to the lack of validly elected trustees, and also owing to the failure of the holding of a proper annual general meeting as envisaged by the Trust deed.

They further argue that the court made a blunder in holding that the flaws in the locus standi of respondents could only be challenged on review proceedings, and could not be raised in defense to an application they had brought before the above court.

“Court a quo erred and misdirected itself in failing to find that the standpipe and the money generated therefrom were for the Moshawa community, and it was for the Moshawa community and not Gaborone North as a whole which had the right to determine whether or not a Trust was to be formed to deal with the standpipe and funds generated from it,” the appellants maintained.

Habana and company in Leburu judgement, was also interdicted from instructing or causing persons who purchase water from the standpipe run by the applicant then to pay through the account.

The appellants insist that:“the court a quo also erred and misdirected itself in holding that the respondents was entitled to the management of the standpipe and the funds generated therefrom notwithstanding the fact that the respondents is composed of persons who are not entitled to make such a decision on behalf of the Moshawa community.”

In the matter which will be heard soon, the appellants are represented by Akheel Jinabhai & Associates while the respondents are represented by Ndadi Law firm.

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