Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has lost with costs, a case in which prominent spy Dzikamani Mothobi’s daughter was suing her former employer for unfair dismissal.
Mothobi’s daughter, Tsholofelo Mothobi was discharged from Regular Force in May 2016 on medical grounds, and consequently lost her appeal before the Defence Council in April 2017.It was alleged, all this was a ploy designed to frustrate her father.
This was after the BDF Medical Board had recommended to the BDF Commander that Recruit Private Mothobi be discharged from active military service given the ‘severity of her mental illness’.
Following her dismissal, Mothobi then approached the court challenging the decision of the BDF Commander and that of the Defence Council.
When delivering judgement on the matter recently, Lobatse High Court Judge Reuben Lekorwe agreed with Mothobi that her discharge from active military was unprocedural and unlawful. Judge Lekorwe then reviewed and set aside the decision of the BDF Commander and that of the Defence Council and ordered the respondents (BDF Commander, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security and Attorney General) to pay costs of suit.
Mothobi is now awaiting a big payout following her years of inaction. She will also start donning the military uniform.
In his reasoning, Lekorwe said the case invoked the principle of the audi alteram partem, literally translated to mean ‘hear the other side or case’.
Lekorwe said Mothobi was not given an opportunity to deal with or rebut the content of psychiatrist Dr Zoran Zoric’s medical report, when she appeared before the Medical Board, as it was based on that report that she was considered unfit for military service. According to court papers,
“In my view therefore, the enquiry must begin on the premise that the applicant was entitled to be advised of this report and given an opportunity to contradict it, unless the Act, as read with the Discharge rules or the guidelines, expressly or impliedly excludes that entitlement,” stated Lekorwe in his judgement. The judgement said the applicant’s version that she was entitled to Dr Zoric’s report must be accepted. The BDF had argued in their submission that the report was confidential.
“In any event, I do not see how an employer, in the position of the BDF can arrogate to itself, through the machinery of a guideline and to the detriment of an employee, a medical privilege that properly belongs to that employee.
In conclusion, the proceedings of the board and the decisions taken pursuant thereto stand to be quashed,” Lekorwe added. Mothobi’s dismissal from the military service became topical, as it allegedly opened a can of worms by exposing the dark world of the military intelligence unit, which her father was highly involved in.
At the time, it was alleged that the BDF top brass wanted to settle scores with dissenting voices in the military.
Mothobi senior shot to prominence in 2009 after he was implicated and identified as an accessory in the murder of John Kalafatis.
He allegedly instructed the ‘hitman’ to shoot and kill Kalafatis in cold blood at a busy Gaborone drinking spot.