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Acting registrar appointment challenged

Tefo Tefo

THE Deputy Registrar, Mojela Shale has launched a High Court bid challenging the appointment of Pontšo Phafoli as the acting Registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Advocate Shale on Wednesday, filed an urgent application before the High Court arguing that Ms Phafoli was not in direct line for promotion and that she was supposed to have been appointed as deputy registrar.

Advocate Shale alleges, in his court papers, that he should have been considered for the position as he was the immediate subordinate officer from Advocate Mokeke who is currently on study leave.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on 29 January 2018 appointed Ms Phafoli as the acting registrar after the then acting registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal, Lesitsi Mokeke, went for a study leave outside the country.

In his court papers, Adv Shale, cites JSC, Attorney General and Ms Phafoli as first, second and third respondents respectively.

In the notice of motion, he wants the court to declare that “a resolution and decision of the 1st respondent (JSC) dated 29 January 2018, be and is hereby reviewed and set aside”.

“The appointment of the 3rd respondent be and is hereby declared unlawful and without any consequence in law.”

Adv Shale wants an order that would declare that the applicant qualifies to be appointed to act as Registrar of this Honourable Court.

He also wanted an interim relief that the appointment of Ms Phafoli should be suspended until the case has been finalized.

Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Friday refused to suspend the appointment.

However, Justice Monaphathi agreed the matter was urgent and ordered the respondents to file their opposing papers within 14 days from Friday.

The judge also said he would not hear the matter and ordered it to be placed before another High Court judge.

In support of his case Advocate Shale provided an affidavit which gives background to the events that led to his complaint.

“It all started around the end of 2017, when the present and current substantive registrar, Mr Mokeke took a study leave to further his studies outside the country.

“His position or office would therefore be temporarily vacant for duration of his study leave. It was therefore necessary to have someone to act in that position until the substantive registrar returns after several years.

“While I thought and reasonably believed that I would be considered and appointed to act in that position it was with a shock when I got to know that my junior has been appointed to act in the position of the registrar,” he stated.

Ms Phafoli was the Assistant Registrar, while Advocate Shale is the Deputy Registrar and a senior officer to Ms Phafoli.

He adds: “While I acknowledge that the 3rd respondent has been my colleague and I have no personal issues with her, it is the manner in which, she was appointed that I attack and challenge.”

“There is a post between her actual post and that which she had been appointed to act on. Her direct line of promotion would be for her to be a deputy registrar,” he said.

Advocate Shale also alleges the vacant post of the registrar was not advertised.

He, therefore asked the High Court to order the Judicial Service Commission to dispatch a record of proceedings that led to the decision to appoint Ms Phafoli on 29 January 2018.

Accordingly, Justice Monaphathi on Friday, ordered the Judicial Service Commission to dispatch its record of proceedings of the 29 January 2018 to the High Court for the determination of the case.

The date of hearing will be determined by a yet to appointed judge.


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