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Worshippers clash in court over Bishop's appointment

MPHO MOKWAPE
The King in Calvary congregants are divided over the appointment of their current Bishop, and have since taken their differences to court.

The disgruntled worshippers whose church headquarters are in Maokatumo, have been fighting to remove their Bishop, Ogadimile Mokotedi who they say was appointed by his father, the Archbishop of the church without their approval.

The members first instituted court proceedings before Justice Lot Moroka in 2017 seeking the removal of the Bishop, whom they deemed wrongfully appointed and that this appointment was a violation of the church’s constitution. When Moroka threw out their case, the members said they may be facing an end to their litigation as the Bishop, his father and the supporters are now seeking for the church’s action to be thrown out of court.

The parties appeared on Wednesday before Judge Abednego Tafa where Bishop Mokotedi and his father Archbishop Grey Mokotedi want the action dismissed with costs.

Through their lawyer, Ofentse Khumomotse, the duo wants the action against them dismissed on the grounds that the disgruntled members who want to remove the Bishop failed to deliver their declaration within the prescribed period of time.

This means that the members failed to file an appearance to defend the matter on time as per the court rules. Khumomotse said the respondents, who are the church and eight other members, were not only without lawful excuse for their serious default, but have displayed nothing short of reckless disregard for the rules and procedures of the court.

“The respondents’ unsatisfactory legal reprehensible conduct should not be tolerated. The court must distinctly mark its displeasure of the respondents’ conduct with punitive order of costs,” he said. He argued that the respondents did not even make an attempt to at least seek the condonation for late filing.

On that account, Khumomotse said the respondents could not hope

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for a condonation of the late filing of the declaration, but did not file a counter-application seeking such action.

“They admit that they have failed to deliver a declaration within the prescribed time, and they attribute such wholly to the unavailability of the lawyer assisting them,” he noted.

Khumomotse argued that even if that explanation was to be believed, there was no confirmatory affidavit from the said attorney, nor any member of the said firm, to attest to the veracity of the explanation.

He argued that as it stands, the respondents have given nothing, but a bald unsubstantiated explanation for the default. On the other hand, the members through their attorney, even though admitting to have failed to follow due process, have opposed the application. Their opposition was on the grounds that the failure to file a declaration was due to the unavailability of their legal representative, Gape Gaasewediwe owing to his resignation from the law firm  handling the case.

The members prayed to the court for a condonation of late filing even though they had failed to make an application for condonation. Meanwhile, the members in their initial application before Judge Moroka, wanted the appointment of son, Ogadimile Mokotedi be declared unlawful and in breach of the church’s constitution. That the father, Grey Mokotedi be interdicted from any way interfering or attempting to commit any act falling within the mandate of the executive committee as per the church’s constitution.

The members wanted the father as the Archbishop from holding meetings, making any administrative decisions including writing letters in that capacity.

Also they wanted a declaration that the dissolution of the executive committee by the Archbishop on August 2016 be rendered unlawful.



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