- Ex-president Mogwera loses interdiction against BOPEU leadership
- Court rules against her application to have her expulsion set aside
- Registrar of Trade Unions finally registers BOPEU office bearers
Efforts by Masego Mogwera, ex-President of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) to have her expulsion set aside and to also interdict decisions taken at the Special General Congress late last year hit a snag after the High Court ruled against her.
The Botswana Gazette can reveal that on the 13th of March 2020, Justice Chris Gabanagae, dismissed Mogwera’s urgent interlocutory application, on grounds that the matter was not urgent. Further, Justice Gabanagae ruled that at the time Mogwera filed her application at court, she was already expelled from BOPEU membership, and as a result, was no longer a member of the Union of Choice and not party to decisions taken at BOPEU.
Mogwera was suspended from the BOPEU Presidency on the 27th of April 2019 by the National Executive Committee. At the congress, which took place on the 30th December 2019, Mogwera was then expelled from BOPEU. New national office bearers were elected. Mogwera approached the Courts and sought to have a decision to dismiss her from the BOPEU membership set aside.
An interlocutory application was also filed by Mogwera, which sought to block the registration of new office bearers, pending the decision by the Court to have the decisions taken at the congress set aside.
BOPEU was represented by Attorney Gabriel Kanjabanga, while Mogwera was represented by Attorney Dutch Leburu. In his response, Kanjabanga moved that Mogwera’s application was not urgent. He said Mogwera’s averment that she joined BOPEU in 1996 cannot be a basis for urgency so much that the court process can be disrupted on her account.
That she has never joined any other Union save for BOPEU, is not special in any way according to Kanjabanga. Further, he argued that the very structure that expelled Mogwera was within its rights. Moreover, Kanjabanga moved that Mogwera’s suggestion that the matter is urgent because she stands to lose a motor vehicle and rights in the funeral scheme is absurd. There is another matter before a different Judge, in respect of the said motor vehicle. Kanjabanga questioned why she has not sought a court injunction when she became aware of the said matter 5 months back only to apply for urgency after her expulsion.
“These proceedings are not interlocutory because the reliefs sought under the substantive application are not related. The decision of the NEC meeting of April 27th 2019 is completely divorced from the 30th November 2019 resolutions at the Special General Congress. These are detached structures. The congress is actually a super structure that is not subservient to any authority within the hierarchy of BOPEU,” argued Kanjabanga. Mogwera also cited that the BOPEU constitution was violated in the decisions leading to her expulsion.
Kanjabanga said she failed to annexure the said constitution and called the Court to examine if indeed the BOPEU constitution was violated. Further, he said Mogwera’s application to interdict the Registrar of Trade Unions(represented by the Attorney General) does not stand as the Registrar is not party to the main application.
He said in terms of the law, only parties to the main application may be admitted into the interlocutory application. “This matter ought to have been brought as a substantive application on its own, as such it must meet its demise,” he argued. Responding on behalf of Mogwera, Attorney Leburu said he had annexed BOPEU constitution previously, which he said has been violated. “The decision they are seeking to purge today, is a continuation of the 2018 congress that concluded with the 2019 Special General Congress,” he stated, adding that BOPEU President Olefhile Monakwe preside over a meeting that rendered the court decision to interdict any court decision against Mogwera redundant. To Leburu, the termination of membership must be constitutional. “All actions must have been put on ice until February 2020 when the substantive matter is called,” he said, adding further that Mogwera was never even served with a notice of her termination which is uncalled for. However, Kanjabanga responded saying the Special General Congress as the most superior structure is empowered to deal with any matter, including termination of membership.
“This was not a disciplinary process but a termination of membership. The Union was exercising its powers in terms of section 21.2 of the constitution, “he responded. That Mogwera is not a member in good standing, the rights that she claims she stands to lose are already not available to her according to Kanjabanga, adding that Mogwera also has no right to be a director at Babereki Investments, because she serves at the pleasure of the shareholder, BOPEU. Justice Gabanagae has since dismissed the matter with costs. Further, the Registrar of Trade Unions Beseniah Buraga finally registered the new BOPEU National Office Bearers (NOB) after a long struggle by the leadership.
In a letter dated the 2nd of April 2020, Buraga confirmed that as per decisions taken at the congress, Kebonye Philip Tlhage, Mbaki Kula, Mandla Gunda, Bakane Lesotlho and Boikhutso Lucas are confirmed as trustees. Of the national office bearers, Olefile Fast Monakwe is confirmed as President, Tshepo Mokgwe 1st Deputy President while Patricia Raditladi is 2nd Deputy President. Kaboyaone Rash Sedimo is confirmed as General Secretary, Ketlhapeleng Karabo is Deputy General Secretary while Panama Dipatane is Treasurer General.