Litigants' failure to meet leads to case postponement

The case in which the acting president of Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) Olefile Monakwe’s wife is suing the union has been postponed to April 1, 2020.

Kedisaletse Monakwe, who is also the union’s head of the collective bargaining and organising unit, would like to claim over P700, 000 from the Union for what she considers full cost of her course in Turin, Italy.

According to documents she filed in Court, the course ran for four months, precisely from January 23 to April 14, 2017, at the ILO training centre.

The matter was scheduled to continue Wednesday for the Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC), but could not proceed because the parties failed to meet prior to the day.

“Today’s case was set for ICMC but the parties haven’t met. But the plaintiff has filed a solo report. We have discussed with my learned friend that the parties must meet first. We are therefore unable to proceed on the basis of that report. We ask for an order that the conference be postponed and attorneys and parties meet to generate a report,” said Monakwe’s attorney Gibson Mabulu.

Attorney Obonye Jonas, acting on behalf of BOPEU, confirmed the position of the two parties that the matter be postponed to allow for a meeting to happen.

Meanwhile, it is alleged that the over P700, 000 claim is a result of the internal strife at BOPEU in which Olefile Monakwe is fighting for the control of the union against Masego Mogwera.

It is said that the claims were made not long after Kedisaletse’s husband had returned to BOPEU victorious as first deputy president from the December Kasane Congress. Sources say the matter appeared settled by July 2018 after BOPEU had offered to only partially reimburse her P70, 000 for tuition and participation costs, citing budgetary constraints and the fact that they had not sanctioned her training. However, after the Kasane Congress, Monakwe’s wife rekindled her demands and filed the matter with the courts of law, this time, adding a 10% annual interest demand from April 2017 to the date of payment, taking her claim from just over P540, 000 to a sum of over P720, 000.

The claims include P333, 699 being meal allowance for 82 days. On average that would have meant that Monakwe’s wife spent more than P100, 000 on meals alone in a month, during the entire three-month’s stay in Turin.

Another claim emanates from the cost of a car, put as P152, 466, and described as the current value of the vehicle, in the claim that was filed with the courts.

The same vehicle is also said to have cost P38, 600 in maintenance during her stay in Italy. In her claim, the acting president’s wife has also put in P6, 954 as travel expenses, P97, 005.30 as tuition fees, all coming to P541, 424.60 before she added a punitive 10% per annum from April 2017, which shot up to P720, 636.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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