Court rules on BMWU case

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 10 November 2015   |   By Staff Writer

High court judge Justice Leatile Dambe will on Friday rule whether the case in which a faction of Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) is trying to block the registration of the newly elected committee should be heard on urgency or not.
On Thursday Justice Dambe  dismissed  arguments brought forward by attorneys of four applicants who had filed an urgent application seeking the court to issue an interim interdict on the registration  of the newly committee and their assumption of office. Calling it a ‘bad case’ Dambe questioned why the applicants want the case to be treated as urgent  when they had failed to advance sufficient evidence to support their argument. Justice Dambe’s point was received well by defence attorney Moses Kadye, who argued that there was nothing urgent about the case. According to Kadye a similar case had been argued before the courts before and the outcome is common knowledge. “This is not a new occurrence your worship, in fact every time after elections we get this. It is now becoming notorious,” Kadye said.
The applicant’s attorney, Wema Isa, however argued that the matter should be treated as urgent as failure do so would deny he clients their constitutional rights, which are also outlined in the union’s constitution. Justice Dambe however did not take kindly to Isa’s argument warning her not to use the constitution when it is not right.
In the filing notice Marius Kruger-one of the applicants, asked court to interdict the registration  of the new committee by the registrar of trade unions pending review proceedings on the validity of their registration. Kruger also requested that  the new committee be interdicted from selling  and diverting  the shares owned  by the union pending the finalisation  of investigations in to the conduct  of the new committee members. He also requested that the committee be interdicted  from assuming office  pending an inquiry  into their  eligibility or fitness to  hold  office due  to conduct  that brings  harm to the union and that they  should hand over  properties, keys to safes, offices and records currently in their possession to  members of the outgoing  NEC save for those cited as respondents.
In their responding however, Kadye argued that  despite the application, a majority of the respondents whom Kruger attacks  are new  to their positions  in the committee and have nothing to do  with  the accusations levelled against them. Kadye also argues that all applicants  were given an opportunity  both before and after  elections  to object to any   of the candidates and none of them did. Kadye further pointed out that attempts by the  outgoing NEC to frustrate the registration  of the new committe with a view  to cling  on to power  and their refusal  to do a handover to the newly elected  NEC at a meeting held in Selibe Phikwe recently  has the effect of hampering  the smooth administration and conduct  of the affairs  of the  union. “Such actions are unconstitutional, unlawful and cannot be condoned,” he said.
The case is not the first as BMWU president Jack Tlhagale is always challenged after every election. In 2011 three members of the BMWU executive, Bob Malele, Joseph Tsimako and Bapamizi Mocheregwa,  filed an urgent application seeking an order declaring that Tlhagale and Happy Bashe’s nomination and eventual election into office was unlawful. One of the reasons given by Justice Garekwe when dismissing the matter at the time was that, the applicants’ attempt to portray Tlhagale and Bashe as somewhat of a danger to the running of BMWU was not backed by union members.

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