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Chief faces jail over house

Caswell Tlali


MASERU — The Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, could find himself in jail after he allegedly refused to comply with an eviction order issued 16 years ago.

Chief Theko, who is also a senator, is set to appear before Chief Magistrate Molefi Makara on Tuesday to answer why he should not be jailed for contempt of court after he allegedly refused to obey the court order.

The Magistrate’s Court in 1994 ordered Chief Theko to vacate the house in favour of Moeketsi Tsatsanyane who claimed to have bought the house from its owner, Phapang Madubu.

Tsatsanyane got a default judgment after the chief failed to appear before the court to defend himself.

Tsatsanyane claims to have bought the house, which is in Ha-Ts’osane, about 10 kilometres southeast of Maseru city centre, in March 1991.

Chief Theko grew up living in the house with his late mother, ’Mankata Theko.

In his court papers Tsatsanyane says since March 1991 Chief Theko has been refusing to vacate the property.

“I am the lawful user and occupier of flat No. 14283-081 situated at Ha-Ts’osane in Maseru City,” Tsatsanyane says in his court papers.

“I hold a lease to the said site.”

Tsatsanyane says the site had been left by Madubu in the custody of Chief Theko’s family when he went to South Africa.

He claims when Madubu came back from South Africa he sold the site to him.

The site, according to Tsatsanyane, was already fully developed and registered in Madubu’s name.

“Immediately after the sale of the developed site in question, but before transfer had legally been effected to me, I and the owner approached (Chief Theko) who was then occupying the house on the site,” he says.

“(We) informed him about our arrangement and asked him to vacate the premises. He openly refused to do so.”

Tsatsanyane then approached the court seeking to evict the chief.

Chief Theko was given a chance to file a notice of intention to defend himself against Tsatsanyane’s claims.

Court records show that Chief Theko filed the notice of intention to oppose the eviction application but never came to the court on the hearing date.

That was when a default judgment was granted ordering Chief Theko to vacate the house.

Chief Theko allegedly refused to comply with the court’s order.

In an affidavit a messenger of court, Lisema Malefane, says he “left a copy of the warrant with an elderly person who was well above the age of 16 years” at Chief Theko’s residence.

“I went to see the respondent (Chief Theko) personally at parliament where he works,” Malefane says.

“I confronted (him) about the aforesaid warrant and he admitted having received (it).”

He said the chief told him “that he would not vacate the said site and whoever wants him to vacate the site is dreaming”.

Chief Theko is reported to have said he had papers to prove that he was the rightful owner of the property.

When the Sunday Express approached him for a comment this week Chief Theko said he would not talk to the media because the matter was still being dealt with by the courts.

“I can’t talk to you about this matter if you are going to publish it,” Chief Theko said.

“It is still in the hands of the courts.”

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