Legal representatives locked shoulders Thursday morning defending and shoring interests in a civil case where De Beers Botswana head honcho, Daniel Neo Moroka is being sued for an amount of P2 million for killing of Tshabong youngster, Kealeboga Danster in the fall of 2014.
For some time attorneys in the case, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, representing Moroka and Letlhogonolo Makgene representing the litigant and the deceased’s mother Margaret Danster, became locked in an argument where Ngakaagae, representing Moroka is yet to file a plea, a development that inadvertently holds back the filing of a default judgement by the accuser’s legal representative.
Ngakaagae had cited confusion in the rules saying they did not know whether the court had to tell them to file a plea or whether they had to file it on their own, playing it down as the selection of either of the two options. However, Makgene openly wondered how Moroka, represented by an experienced barrister could have failed to file a plea. He also pondered to the Judge why Ngakaagae as an experienced barrister could cite confusion in the court rules that were last reviewed in 2008.
Makgene said, “Without trying to cast aspersions on Ngakaagae I do not think that there was confusion on when to file, there must be another reason, more so that the litigant is represented by an experienced lawyer.”
Ngakaagae shot down Makgene and Danster’s argument made in the declaration that she is entitled to compensation for her son’s death, on the premise that she being the mother deserved compensation because the life of the deceased was cut short.
Ngakaagae contended that there has never been a cause of action affirming compensation for the loss of a loved one and that no individual can be compensated for the life of another individual, safe for where the life expectancy of an individual has been reduced and right to long quality life had been taken due to negligence by another person.
He further argued that should Danster be given the judgement she requests, the law will be thrown into pandemonium and confusion as there will be no limit as to who could claim compensation for the death of a family member as any other next of kin or even friend can lay own claims.
Ngakaagae also argued that the judgement might also precipitate a state of affairs where people might accelerate deaths of other people eyeballing laying their own claims.
He pointed out to Danster’s statement that says the deceased was only 18 years old when he passed on and she was hoping that in future he will earn money and take care of her, saying that she ought to show and prove that the deceased was supporting her when he passed on and not the anticipated or speculated future support. Ngakaagae contended that the elder Danster’s own life is still intact; therefore she has no legal standing to seek recompense and is not even in the clear as to whether she is administrator of the estate of the deceased.
He said that on the claim of loss of dependency and support, such claim is premised on uncertainty and is futuristic. He argued that nobody knows what could have become of the future life of the deceased. “Possibly he could have become something in life-we don’t know, they don’t know but they are asking for damages.” Ngakaagae sniped before adding that the litigant’s claim does not hold water and it should collapse.
The litigant’s lawyer Makgene however retorted by saying and conceding that while a case of this kind has never been brought before the courts of law in the country it will be simplistic to say that the parent of a child who has been killed has no remedy to seek recompense for the loss.
He argued that there are a number of jurisdictions in the commonwealth where shortened life is claimable and it should not only be with past as there has been an action for loss of prospective support that you raise a child so that they pay back by supporting the parent, an argument which presiding Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa questioned the application’s use of the word ‘pay back.’
However, Makgene still held his own against a ferocious counter- argument from Ngakaagae reiterating his stance that an individual can still claim loss of future support not only for the past but for the future as well, before letting known that Danster had not asked expressly for the P2million figure, but a judgement and the court or the registrar will determine the quantum of damage.
He also contended that if judgement is served in favour of the defendant it will then be easier and cheaper to maim than to kill as there is no civil claim when you kill, particularly since the relative child has been killed which is itself a prima facie.
He also argued that since in the broader context the body (Directorate of Public Prosecutions) responsible for prosecutions has abdicated its duty of criminally prosecuting Moroka, a judgement on the contrary will effectively mean Moroka is allowed to get away scot free having already escaped from accountability under criminal law.
Ngakaagae countered Makgene in the extended legal affray saying that in common law no parent has the right of support from a child except in circumstances where the parent brings action of support because such parent is destitute, then that right arises. He continued slicing and dicing Makgene’s argument saying any parent who says, “I hope for the future” is effectively saying, “I am actually eyeballing a life of poverty” also adding that parents are not reserved the right of support from their children as that support is only given as societal obligation and not a right.
Ngakaagae added that Neo Moroka does not undermine the death of the deceased and Danster’s argument is prone to collapse since its success is at present premised on the mercy of the court. “We do not in any way undermine the death of this poor soul but this application is simply ill advised and pleading sentiment before the court,” he said.
Moroka, who is a former Minister of Trade and Industry is being sued for killing Kealeboga Danster in a hunt for a rogue stray dog that terrorised farm hands at his farm about 22 kilometres from Makopong in Kgalagadi South.
Moroka, it is believed holds the defence that the projectile that killed the younger Danster came from the barrel of his (Moroka) gun that had been aimed in the direction of a camping tent where it was believed the stray dog was in, but had ricocheted in a different direction toward the youthful Danster.
The Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni says the search to appoint the Ombudsman and other critical heads of department is currently ongoing and the process is expected to be completed before end of the year.
The Ombudsman position fell vacant almost five months ago after Augustine Makgonatsotlhe was removed from the office and appointed as Ambassador to Kuwait.
Two Batswana nationals have been arrested in Zimbabwe for illegal trade in mercury. The duo is being held together with a Zimbabwean national who is being questioned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
This publication understands that the suspects who are aged between 39 and 56 years hail from Tutume and Selebi-Phikwe. At the time of the arrest, they were found in possession of a pistol, bomb motor and four live rounds. It is understood that the suspects told investigators during interrogation that the deadly substance has a lucrative market in Far East countries, where the demand is high. It is further reported that the suspects claimed that the mercury can be easily accessed in mines through middleman.
The Namibian Lives Matter Movement has weighed in on the looming border dispute between their country and Botswana.
Commenting on reports that the Namibian Parliament has dispatched a committee along the border between the two countries on fact finding mission, the group commended“the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, De-fence and Security that will engage community members living along the Namibia Botswana Border in conducting public hearings into acts of aggression and brutality by Botswana Defence (BDF) Force against innocent and unarmed Namibians.”