I was not aware of contempt of court-Local Government PS

PS Mogapi has applied to the court to be joined in the counter application as a party to enable her to defend her constitutional right to her liberty PIC: FACEBOOK
PS Mogapi has applied to the court to be joined in the counter application as a party to enable her to defend her constitutional right to her liberty PIC: FACEBOOK

Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Gabatlotlane Mogapi, says she was not aware of any contempt of court that almost committed her to 30 days in jail.

The PS, who got thrown into a court battle between a company called Lamworld Technologies and her ministry involving a 2013 contract, wants to be joined into the proceedings as she says her liberty is at stake.

Lamworld Technologies has been fighting with the Ministry demanding payments for incurred expenses for a 2013 contract where it was tasked to build water treatment plant and evaporation ponds at New Xade and Radisele villages.

In recent fights Lamworld had obtained through a court order writ of executions to attach the Ministry’s property for failure to pay. In turn, the Attorney General (AG) filed on behalf of the Ministry for stay of execution. In Mogapi’s court papers in which she is seeking to fight for her liberty after Lamworld cited her in their counter application against AG and sought for her arrest for contempt of court, she states that the ruling that was handed by the Lobatse High Court judge Boipuso Makhwe committing her to jail had adverse repercussions for her in her personal capacity.

“The order handed down by the court on March 25, 2024 has grave adverse repercussions for me in my personal capacity. I have been committed to prison for 30 days after having been found to have been in contempt of a court order. “It is beyond any doubt that I have a substantial interest in any matter in which my constitutional right to liberty is being threatened and any party seeks to interfere with it,” she said. Mogapi explained that she was applying to be joined in the counter application as a party to enable her to defend her constitutional right to her liberty. She pointed out that it was incumbent on Lamworld, who sought reliefs affecting her personal liberty, to have joined her to the proceedings before it sought and obtained an order potentially taking away her liberty. “I therefore, humbly pray that I be joined as a necessary, affected and material party to the counter application launched by the company,” the PS said. According to Mogapi’s claim she is seeking that should she be successful in the joinder application, she wishes to move for the rescission of the court order granted to Lamworld on March 25, 2024 on the basis that an order prejudicially affecting her liberty has been sought and obtained by the company without citing her as a party. “The company sought and obtained an order for my personal attachment without notice to me.

They also did not serve its counter application for my committal to prison for contempt of court without having served me with a copy of the application personally,” she said. She argued that the orders affecting her personal liberty are liable to be set aside and rescinded because they have been erroneously sought by the company and erroneously granted by the court without notice to her as a party whose rights are affected by the orders. Further the PS emphasised that any application affecting someone’s personal liberty ought to be served on the affected person personally failing which such orders would be invalid and liable to be set aside or rescinded. Meanwhile giving rise to Mogapi’s application is that on September 16, 2022, Lobatse High Court issued a judgment in favour of Lamworld Technologies the sum of P 20, 713 619.76. On or about March 8, 2024, the AG filed an urgent application in terms of which she sought to stay the execution of the judgment of the court handed down on September 16, 2022 in favour of Lamworld Technologies (Pty) Ltd pending appeal application.

The appeal is currently pending before the Court of Appeal (CoA) is civil appeal. In a recent ruling by Lobatse High Court judge Matlhogonolo Phuthego said the arrest and imprisonment of the PS was temporarily halted pending the decision of CoA. Her application has been set for status hearing today (April 5.)

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