Molepolole Magistrate, Kefilwe Resheng is taking government to court to oppose the decision to transfer her to Mahalapye, amid concerns with her security.
Resheng has cited the Chief Justice, the Chief Registrar of the High Court and the Attorney General in her application to court.
In her founding affidavit placed before High Court Judge, Boipuso Tshweneyagae, Resheng said that her application is meant to protect her rights particularly the right to health, safety, security, protection of the law, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment as envisaged by the Constitution, adding that particularly because that there is no law in their jurisdiction protecting such rights of Magistrates.
“To protect such rights I seek temporary declaratory orders from the Court pending the institution and finalisation of review proceedings against the decision of the 1st and 2nd Respondents (the chief justice and the chief registrar of the high court),” she wrote in her affidavit.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
Resheng explained on her founding affidavit that she has worked for the Judiciary since the May 2010 as a grade three Magistrate in Palapye.
She said on the 1st October 2019 she was transferred from Mochudi Magistrate Court to MolepololeMagistrates Court at the position of Principal Magistrate. She was then transferred from Molepolole Magistrates Court to Mahalapye Magistrates Court by the letter dated 5th April 2022 and her transfer was to commence from 1st May 2022.
“I accepted the transfer, and communicated such acceptance verbally to the Regional North and South and Chief Magistrate Molepolole,” said Resheng on her affidavit.
She alluded that she then arranged a meeting with the Chief Registrar through her secretary for purposes of accepting her transfer formally, however the meeting did not materialise because the Chief Registrar’s secretary advised she was too busy at the time to meet.
“On the 3rd May 2022 I reported for duty at Mahalapye Magistrate Court as required by my transfer letter. I had a meeting with His Worship Solomon Setshedi (Head of Station for Mahalapye) who briefed me about the station and promised to do a proper handing over with handing over notes,” she wrote.
Resheng said that she was advised by Regional Magistrate North that she was replacing Setshedi and taking over that station in due course, but that his transfer was still in the pipeline.
She said since Setshedi had not received any letter of transfer himself there was no accommodation or office space for her in Mahalapye, and she discussed the issue with the regional Magistrate North.
She revealed that she was then advised to remain in Molepolole pending the resolution of all the administrative issues.
“On 17th May 2022 I was viciously attacked and assaulted by an accused by the names Mogorosi Korae whilst executing my judicial functions in open court, the events leading to my attack are detailed in a Police report I recorded,” she wrote.
She stated that she was rescued, not by any member of staff, Police or Prisons officials, but by a civilian in attendance at the court premises on the day.
“On the same date of the attack I sought medical attention and after consultation with the doctor I was put on sick leave from the 18th May 2022until 27th May 2022. This was due to the fact that I was diagnosed with acute Post Traumatic Stress disorder” said Resheng on her affidavit.
She stated that on the 31st May 2022 she was attacked verbally by two accused persons in two different cases.
“In the case of Kgotla Mothupi, an inmate facing charges of burglary started off by bursting into court and being rowdy during the proceedings of another case that was heard before his. He was screaming saying “I will show her, she doesn’t know who I am. I am not going to appear before her”.
Resheng wrote that after she presided over the matter that was ongoing, Mothupi’s matter was then called. She said he (Mr Mothupi) continued to hurl insults and threats and made it known to her that there was a vendetta by the Molepolole inmates to harm her.
“As if to add salt to the wound, up next to be heard was the case of Keorapetse Barakanye who was appearing for charges of robbery in a case where he is accused of robbing Payless Molepolole at gun point,” she said.
She added that she could not finish fast enough because the attack caused her a relapse and was attended to at Gaborone Private Hospital where a General Practitioner referred her to a specialist psychiatrist for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“My psychiatrist and psychologist wrote reports recommending that I be moved from Molepolole being the place where I was attacked by Mogosi Korae, Kgotla Mothupi and Keorapetse Barakanye, Furthermore, I should not be transferred to Mahalapye as it is the place where Keorapetse Barakanye threatened to find me and also kill me,” she wrote.
She stated that her then Attorney Rantao then wrote and delivered a letter to the offices of the Chief Justice and Chief Registrar requesting that they consider transferring her as per the doctor’s recommendation, on medical grounds.
“I need to state that even my clinical psychologist whom I started seeing after the assault, Ms Christina Bitsang, had also formed an opinion after my assessment that my full recovery was dependent on having the support of my family and, obviously, working in Gaborone or its surroundings where they are close by,’’ wrote Resheng.
She indicated that her employer did not respond for at least two (2) months.
“On the 1st August 2022, I wrote through my then attorneys Rantao Attorneys to the 1st and 2nd Respondents requesting directions on the matters before them concerning my transfer as I was due to report for duty and since the response substantively said nothing about the concerns raised by the doctors,” wrote Resheng.
She indicated that her attorneys received a response on the 9th August 2022 indicating that they were still engaging their lawyers over the matter but that in the interim the transfer to Mahalapye still stood and that she will be informed in due course when the Mahalapye Magistrate has arrived.
“Unfortunately, on the 16th August 2022 I had a second relapse whilst at work at the Molepolole Magistrates Court. The situation was so dire that I had to be transported by a work vehicle from work to see a doctor as it was an emergency,” she wrote.
She said she was then placed on sick leave ending on the 10th September 2022.
“I have now come to the conclusion and/or realization that the Chief Justice and Chief Registrar conduct amounts to a refusal to reconsider my transfer on medical grounds to Gaborone or surrounding areas within commuting distance,” she wrote.
GOVERNMENT’S ANSWERING AFFIDAVIT
Juliana Dube –Gobotswang, the Chief Registrar, wrote in her answering affidavit that she ha enquired through WhatsApp on the wellbeing of Resheng, which she stated that she was seeing a psychologist.
“Our safety, wellness and environment officer had also been checking up on her to find out how she was doing. We further had resolved to pay for the applicant’s medical expenses which were in the form of psychologist bills, we however much state that we do not know the frequency of her doctors visits,” Gobotswang wrote.
Gobotswang revealed that Resheng does not have the right to refuse to report for duty at Mahalapye when she has accepted transfer, when she has been replaced as head of station at Molepolole and when she accepted transfer allowance.
“The applicant does not even have the right to force other magistrate on transfer, as the effect of insisting that she be placed at a certain station without even establishing the availability of a vacancy would result in this magistrate having to pave a way for her,” she wrote.
Gobotswang’s affidavit indicated that Resheng’s position remains unoccupied in Mahalapye and that as a result of her note reporting at Mahalapye, there will now be a shortage of staff causing a delay in the resolution of cases.
“A continued absence will negatively impact upon the rights of the litigations before the Mahalapye court who have a right to have a right to have their cases determined without unreasonable delay” Gobotswang’s affidavit read.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.