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Ousted DC youths win reprieve

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — The High Court on Thursday issued an interim order suspending the expulsion of two main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) youths from the National Youth Council (NYC). The expulsion was suspended until April 29 when the two’s application against the Ministry of Gender will be heard. Ramahooana Matlosa and Mpaballeng Motjetjepa are suing the Ministry of Gender and Youth Principal Secretary Majara Molapo, ministry itself, the NYC as well the Attorney General Tokolo Makhethe after they were unceremoniously kicked out of the council last month.

High Court judge Justice Thamsangqa Nomngcongo ruled that Molapo, who was cited as the first respondent, should give cause why his decision to terminate the applicants’ membership of the NYC “with immediate effect and without any hearing whatsoever as set in his letters of the 18th March 2013” shall not be stayed pending the finalisation of the court case.
“The First Respondent and/or all other respondents must show cause why they should not be restrained and interdicted from convening any conference and/or meeting of the Third Respondent for purposes of electing the council of the third respondent pending finalisation hereof,” reads the order.

“The first respondent should show cause why his decision to terminate applicants’ membership of the NYC with immediate effect and without any hearing whatsoever shall not be reviewed, corrected an set aside,” the judge said. The order further demands that respondents justify why Molapo’s decision to terminate Matlosa and Motjetjepa’s membership from the NYC “shall not be declared unlawful, null and void and of no legal force and effect”.

“Respondents should show cause why the applicants shall not be allowed and ordered to participate in any conference/and or meeting of the NYC for the purpose of electing the council for the NYC pending the finalisation of the present application,” the order says. “The respondents should also show cause why they shall not be ordered to pay costs hereof and why applicants shall not be granted further/and or alternative relief.”

The Ministry of Gender was this week compelled by the order to also cancel a scheduled conference to elect the NYC working committee this weekend. Advocate Salemane Phafane, who represented Matlosa and Motjetjepa, told the Sunday Express on Friday that the order in essence meant that “the letter of expulsion is being suspended”. “This also means that the conference scheduled for this weekend for the election of the NYC working committee has been suspended as well,” Phafane said.

“It also means that Matlosa and Motjetjepa should be given the right to be NYC members until their application is heard on the return date of April 29.” When contacted for comment, Molapo said he could not comment as the matter was already before the High Court. “We have been served with court papers, therefore I am no longer in a position to comment,” Molapo said. Matlosa and Motjetjepa were suspended from the NYC on March 18 for being members of the opposition.

Molapo said section (5) (h) of the National Youth Council Act, 2008, says that a political party commanding majority seats in parliament “should have representation of two youth members” while a similar clause directs that opposition youth leagues “must have representation of one youth”.

“It is against this background that you are informed of your removal of your names/participation from the NYC as a member/s,” Molapo told the two in letters dated March 18. The gender and youth principal secretary added that in this case, the coalition of parties forming Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government were “the coalition of parties commanding majority seats and not the DC”. The respondent’s legal representation is represented by Advocate Mafefooane Moshoeshoe.

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