3 November 2017

Lesotho: Leribe Man Fights to Reclaim Land

A LERIBE man, Ivone Mafisa, has launched a fresh bid to reclaim his commercial site in Maputsoe urban from Fathima (PTY) Ltd a company belonging to Afzal Abubaker, a Mosotho business person of Indian origin.

Mr Mafisa claims Mr Abubaker unlawfully occupied his land and he has been battling to recover it since 2003 when he tried to get the police to intervene through the then area chief of Ha Manama in Maputsoe, Ntṧekhe Molapo.

The Lesotho Times saw a copy of the letter written by Chief Molapo to the Maputsoe Police station commander on 18 December 2003, requesting the police to assist Mr Mafisa reclaim his land.

This publication also saw copies of court papers filed in the High Court of Lesotho (case number CIV/APN/43/06) before Justice Monaphathi.

On 20 March 2006, a court order was issued, stating that deeds of transfer numbers 26282 and 26283 (transfering the land from Mr Mafisa to Mr Abubaker) dating to 19 December 2002 as well as number 26527 dating back to 8 November 2001 be cancelled and expunged from the register of deeds.

However, on 18 October 2011 Mafisa filed papers before the same court abandoning the above court order (CIV/APN/43/06).

In the papers Mafisa said that he wanted to abandon 2006 court order in exchange for alternative relieve in the form of compensation.

After failing to receive compensation from Mr Abubaker, Mr Mafisa filed a fresh court application on 31 August 2017 in the Land Court for the District of Leribe (CIV/DLC/LRB/40/17) asking the court to evict the former from the land.

He sought to have the respondent interdicted from interfering with his rights and enjoyment of the site and he also compensation.

The application further states that Mr Mafisa is in possession of a lease proving his ownership of the land in question which the respondents has forcefully occupied.

It states that Mr Mafisa had tried different measures to solve the matter amicably but failed.

The court subsequently summoned Mr Abubaker to appear in person or through a representative who was duly instructed and able to answer all questions on 28 September 2017.

Mr Abubaker was also asked to present to the court his answers, a list of witnesses and document(s) which his answers relied upon.

In his answering papers, Mr Abubaker admitted to the contents of Mr Mafisa's application. He however, argued that the order referred to (CIV/APN/43/06) was by consent abandoned for a consideration (compensation) of M100 000.

He also argues that his occupation of the site was not forceful and that the applicant (Mr Mafisa) was fully aware of the improvements that had been made on the land.

He also claimed that Mr Mafisa has never engaged in any negotiations aimed at settling his grievances about the land but rather resorted to self-help and threats trying to take over possession of the plots.

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