Mahase dismisses bizarre Thabane application to escape jail
IN a bizarre and almost unprecedented move, murder-accused former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane applied for bail even before he had been formally charged and asked to plead to allegations that he murdered his ex-wife, Lipolelo.
The Sunday Express has established that the bail application was denied by Judge ‘Maseforo Mahase last week. The strange application was filed a day before Mr Thabane was due to appear in the High Court to get a formal notice of the Crown’s intention to have him tried for the 17 June 2017 murder of Lipolelo Thabane.
Mr Thabane subsequently attended a pre-trial interview conducted by Assistant High Court Registrar, Tebello Mokhoema. He was then informed that he will stand trial alongside his current wife, ‘Maesaiah and several other suspects in March next year. Mr Thabane is expected to be formally charged and plead to the charges then.
It has since emerged that he had already petitioned the High Court for bail the previous day before he appeared to get the formal notice of trial.
This publication has seen a copy of his 29 November 2021 bail application wherein he begs Justice Mahase to release him on condition he pays a paltry M1000 bail deposit. Other bail conditions that he proposed were that he should stand trial to finality by way of summons and not interfere with state witnesses.
Mr Thabane was forced to step down by his own party in May 2020 on the grounds that he could not continue at the helm when he had been accused of such a heinous crime. The party also accused the then 81-year-old leader of ceding control of both party and government affairs to his much younger “meddlesome and quarrelsome” wife, ‘Maesaiah. Mr Thabane seemed to have become politically dormant after his ouster as premier.
However, he has since returned to the political scene with vigour. He now regularly attends meetings of his ABC. He is currently leading efforts to oust his deputy in the party and successor as premier, Moeketsi Majoro.
Despite his newly found zeal to try and scupper his much younger political rival, 22 years his junior, Mr Thabane portrayed himself as a dying man, fearful that unless he was granted bail, he would succumb in jail.
“The petitioner is a sickly old man who is 82 years old,” Mr Thabane states in his ultimately unsuccessful bizarre bail application.
“The petitioner’s health situation is fragile and he suffers from a medical condition that requires specialists in Johannesburg where he attends the medical services frequently (sic). The petitioner needs the specialist medical services to sustain the last stages of his gracious life.
“The matter is urgent as the petitioner will not be able to access the medical services if he is remanded in custody. The petitioner’s life will be in danger in circumstances where he is unable to receive treatment for his medical condition.”
Mr Thabane also stated that he feared that his life would be in danger in custody as he would not have access to his security team to protect him from people who would want to kill him because of his highly influential role as ABC leader.
said to be on the verge of death as he is suffering from prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and incontinence among other illnesses.
Attached to the doomed bail application is a letter from one medical doctor, Teboho Thabane, indicating that Mr Thabane suffers from hypertension, dementia, carcinoma of the prostate and hypothyroidism.
“He (ex-premier Thabane) is presently being seen by myself as his general practitioner, Dr Marx, a specialist urologist based in Bloemfontein and Dr Meyer, a specialist psychiatrist also based in Bloemfontein.
“From what I have observed of him, he needs assistance with proper/correct administration of his medicines and general upkeep,” states Dr Thabane, a Maseru-based medical practitioner, in his 13 June 2020 letter on the former prime minister’s medical condition.
‘Maesaiah raised similar arguments about Mr Thabane’s health in her ultimately successful 2020 bail application before the now deceased High Court Judge, Thamsanqa Nomngcongo. The former First Lady said Mr Thabane was suffering from prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and incontinence among other illnesses.
‘Maesaiah said Mr Thabane was hovering “between life and death” and desperately needed her round the clock. Only her, as the wife, could cater for the husband and not any other relatives, she claimed.
“Your petitioner should disclose at this stage that the health of her spouse (Mr Thabane) has been deteriorating at an alarming rate in the recent past,” ‘Maesaiah states.
“The petitioner’s husband who is the former prime minister of Lesotho, now about 82 years old is critically ill. Your petitioner’s husband has since been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in respect of which he underwent an operation at Medi-Clinic, Bloemfontein, on Friday 29 May 2020 and he is due back for assessment and further treatments on Tuesday 9 June 2020.
“He has been in and out of hospital with a condition that has shown no improvement but rather deteriorates rapidly every day. For instance, between the beginning of May (2020) and now, she has been to his doctors in Bloemfontein five times. There is a grave fear that unless closely and well looked after on a minute basis, he will most definitely die.
“Furthermore, your petitioner’s husband has been diagnosed with an advanced dementia coupled with inconsistence and Alzheimer’s disease which have put his life at stake. He requires his wife and not just any other person or relative for obvious reasons, to be physically with him around the clock. He needs constant attention all day and night.
“He needs personal assistance all of which are of private and sensitive nature. He takes on average no less than 12 prescribed tablets of different types daily. There is no way in which he will be able to administer on himself this medication in the condition in which he is.
“He (Thabane) has to be assisted to do all activities of nature due to his acute incontinence. In the premise the petitioner’s husband is between life and death and cannot pull through should the petitioner not be around him all the time. He is clearly in his last and most delicate days requiring personal and constant respectful attention,” ‘Maesaiah claimed in her own successful bail application after she was jailed over same allegations she partook in the plot to murder Lipolelo.
Despite making similar claims about his health, Mr Thabane got no joy from Judge Mahase who dismissed his application last week.
Justice Mahase said she would provide a written judgement with the reasons for her decision in due course.
It seems Mr Thabane had filed the application in anticipation that he might be remanded in custody after he was asked to come to the High Court to be issued with the notice of trial. He thus filed the application to try and pre-empt any decision to remand him in custody.
In spite of the claims that he was close to death, Mr Thabane has in fact been very active in politics as evidenced by his regular and robust presence at national executive committee (NEC) meetings of the ABC which he still leads. He has steadfastly clung on to power. He has since chaired an NEC meeting which voted to recall Dr Majoro. His backers, most notably, secretary general Lebohang Hlaele and spokesperson Montoeli Letsosa have all backed him to continue at the helm of the ABC and even lead it into next year’s elections. Mr Hlaele once famously declared that there was no vacancy in the ABC leadership. He even accused former ABC deputy leader, Nqosa Mahao, of seeking to usurp Mr Thabane’s position. Tired of the never-ending power struggle, Prof Mahao eventually left the ABC in April this year to form his own Basotho Action Party (BAP).