LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) Mothetjoa Metsing’s court battle for deputy prime ministerial pension benefits is far from over as the High Court has postponed the case to 16 November 2017 for hearing.
In August this year, Mr Metsing filed an application before the High Court seeking to nullify the government’s decision to deny him benefits accrued from his service as deputy prime minister from 2012 to June this year.
The case was supposed to proceed before the High Court last Friday, but postponed to 16 November this year because the judge presiding over the case, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi, had other pressing commitments.
On 24 August 2017, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo gave Mr Metsing a temporary reprieve when he ordered that he should continue enjoying the former deputy prime minister’s benefits until the court had resolved the issue.
Mr Metsing took the legal route after Public Service Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane stated that the LCD leader was not entitled to the deputy prime ministerial benefits because he did not serve in the position for 36 continuous months.
Mr Metsing first occupied the office of deputy prime minister in June 2012 when the LCD formed a coalition government with the Thomas Thabane-led All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Chief ‘Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP).
Dr Thabane led that government until the 28 February 2015 elections when it made way for a seven-party coalition administration led by former premier Pakalitha Mosisili.
Mr Metsing retained his position as deputy premier in the seven-party government which was inaugurated on 17 March 2015 until the 3 June 2017 snap elections which brought back a Dr Thabane-led four party coalition including the BNP, Reformed Congress of Lesotho and the Alliance of Democrats.
All in all, Mr Metsing served 59 months under the two governments, although his tenure was briefly interrupted by the change of regimes in 2015. By the end of the first coalition government, he had served around 31 months as deputy premier.
Chief ‘Maseribane, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and the Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe are cited as first to fourth respondents respectively.
Mr Metsing has since fled to South Africa citing a tip-off from a “trusted source” about a plot to assassinate him.