Lesotho: Court of Appeal Sits for Final 2019 Session

19 October 2019

THE second session of the Court of Appeal got underway on Monday 14 October 2019 and is expected to end on 1 November 2019 when the court delivers its judgements.

Led by its president, Justice Kananelo Mosito, the court will hear 47 cases from 14 to 25 October 2019. The bench also comprises of other judges drawn from various Southern African countries such as the Zimbabwean duo of Justices Moses Chinhengo and Tafuma Mtshiya, Phillip Musonda (Zambia), Petrus Damaseb (Namibia) and Johan Van Der Westhuizen from South Africa.

After concluding the hearing of appeals on 25 October 2019, the judges will use the following day to write their judgements which will then be delivered on 1 November 2019.

One of the better-known cases before the court in its final 2019 session is that of the Director of National Security Services (NSS), Pheello Ralenkoane, who is challenging a High Court decision ordering the reinstatement of 77 NSS officers who were fired in January 2018 by the Thomas Thabane administration.

The 77 officers were appointed by the previous Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven parties' coalition but they were fired by the current governing coalition allegedly because they had been hired on political grounds. Tumo Lekhooa, who fled the country in 2017, was the NSS boss at the time the 77 officers were hired.

Part of the letter confirming the termination of their employment states that, "After considering your irregular employment into the National Security Service (NSS) ... take notice that you are hereby discharged from the service with effect from 1 January 2018".

In the notice of motion they filed in the High Court on 26 February last year, the dismissed officers asked the court to declare their expulsion as "null and void and of no force in law".

They also asked the court to order their reinstatement with full pay from February 2018 as they allege they were last paid in January 2018.

They eventually won their case in the High Court in May 2019 when Justice Semapo Peete ruled that Mr Ralenkoane had acted unlawfully by terminating their employment.

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