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Mapesela sued over car debt

Pascalinah Kabi

NEWLY appointed Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation Minister, Tefo Mapesela, is entangled in a nasty fight with Nedbank Lesotho over his alleged failure to pay his instalments after entering in a vehicle financing loan agreement with the bank in November 2017.

According to court papers, Nedbank Lesotho bought a 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser 79 P/U 4.2D for Mr Mapesela after the two parties entered into a loan agreement on 1 November 2017. The vehicle cost M553 255, 92.

Mr Mapesela was Defence and National Security minister until he was moved to his new portfolio in the 3 October 2019 cabinet reshuffle. He was expected to pay back the M553 255, 92 plus interest of 11, 5 percent per annum. He was supposed to pay this amount in 54 monthly instalments of M10 245, 48 beginning 30 December 2017.

He is said to be in arrears of M16 283, 86 and the total amount he owes is M313 399, 96 as at 22 October 2019.

On 23 October 2019, the bank filed an urgent application in the High Court’s Commercial Division asking to be granted leave to repossess the vehicle.

This after Mr Mapesela allegedly failed to pay the arrears and instead “imposed threats” on the bank staffers when they told him to pay back the money.

Mr Mapesela, the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner of Traffic and the Attorney General are cited as 1st to 4th respondents in the matter respectively.

On 28 October 2019, Commercial Court judge, Justice Lineo Chaka-Makhooane, granted the bank an interim order to, among others, repossess the vehicle from Mr Mapesela.

In terms of the final order, the bank wants the agreement of sale cancelled and Mr Mapesela to be ordered to return the vehicle as well to pay the outstanding amount owing for the car. The bank says that Mr Mapesela owes M313 399, 96.

In his founding affidavit, Nedbank Lesotho Head of Credit, Timothy Thobane, said on 1 November 2017 the bank and Mr Mapesela concluded an agreement “whereof the 1st Respondent (Mr Mapesela) purchased from the applicant (Nedbank Lesotho) a 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser for an amount of M553 255, 92”.

Mr Thobane said in addition to paying the M553 255, 92, Mr Mapesela also had to pay interest amounting to 11, 5 percent per annum.

He said the money was payable by Mr Mapesela in 54 monthly instalments from 30 December 2017 and that the monthly instalment was M10 245, 48.

“Should the 1st respondent fail to comply with any of the conditions of the agreement, or fail to pay any amounts due to the applicant, then the applicant will have the right to claim from the 1st Respondent the amount which the applicant would have been paid had 1st Respondent fulfilled all his obligations.

“The applicant will be entitled to cancel the agreement, to take the vehicle back, sell it, keep all payments the 1st Respondent has made and claim the balance (if any) from the first respondent as damages,” Mr Thobane said.

He accused Mr Mapesela of failing to comply with the terms of the agreement in that he had failed to pay his instalments on time and in some instances not paid in full.

“The applicant has a clear right to demand or repossess and/or interdict the use of the vehicle at issue as the 1st respondent has dismally failed to honour the clear terms of the agreement.

“The first respondent always screams at the applicant’s personnel when they tell him to come and pay to the extent that imposes some threats on them. Total arrears range beyond M16 283, 86 as at 22 October 2019. The total amount owing is M313 399, 96 as at 22 October 2019.

“The 1st respondent has committed a flagrant breach of the conditions of the agreement. On account of the foregoing, the applicant has elected to cancel the agreement and claim return of the vehicle forming part of the agreement to it,” Mr Thobane said.

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