Wheels of justice on hold at customary courts

Customary courts dispense quick and cheap justice
Customary courts dispense quick and cheap justice

Hearing of civil cases at customary courts has been put on hold as the ploughing season commences.

Mmegi has established that customary courts that have put their cases on hold are those in villages that include Mogoditshane, Tlokweng, Ramotswa and Mahalapye.

Gaborone customary courts in Old Naledi, Gaborone West and Broadhurst  continue with their sessions.

The director at Department of Tribal Administration, Tumelo Seboko said the decision to halt hearing of cases is taken by dikgosi in their own jurisdictions.   Seboko said normally it is done when the ploughing season starts. 

He said in most cases, only civil matters are put on hold while hearing of criminal cases may continue.

 “We do not tell customary courts when to stop hearing cases, but it is a decision taken by dikgosi on their own when the ploughing season starts.

“In most cases, only criminal cases are settled during this time,” he said.

“However, it may vary from one customary court to another as dikgosi make the decision.  “Fela fa ba bolotsa letsema, ba emisa le tsone ditsheko. Only urgent ones are attended to.”

Kgosi Thare of Old Naledi Customary Court said that they continue with cases because they are in the city.

He said since those in the city do not plough, they do not stop the wheels of justice.

Deputy chief of Batlokwa, Kgosi Michael Gaborone said at this time only urgent matters and some criminal cases are attended to.

Gaborone explained that although it is not in the law, it is in Setswana culture that once the kgosi has declared the start of the ploughing season, some duties have to be stopped for sometime.

“We are now dealing with urgent and pending cases, but it does not mean we have stopped everything.  Normally around this time, people are busy at their fields and that is why we halt cases and continue in the New Year,” he explained.

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