â€¦as 12 police recruits are denied return to PTC despite court rebate
Mohloai Mpesi and Nthatuoa Koeshe
The Commissioner of Police (COMPOL), Holomo Molibe could face contempt-of-court charges after snubbing Justice TÅ¡eliso Mokokoâ€™s judgement.
Molibeâ€™s failure to recall 12 police recruits whom he earlier this month sent-packing from the Police Training College Recruitment Programme on assertions that the lot had tattooed bodies akin to those belonging to criminally-connected gangsters notorious to violent crimes commonly known as manomoro (numbersâ€™ gangs) might land him in soup.
Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane, a lawyer representing the recruits said they are going to file contemptuous charges against the COMPOL after blockading the traineesâ€™ return into the programme the courtâ€™s ruling handed down on Wednesday.
The beginners were dismissed from PTC earlier this month just at the beginning of their training programme.
Setlojoane told this publication yesterday that PTC misdirected itself by sacking the recruits against Justice Mokokoâ€™s ruling and that he is giving them until Monday to retain the recruits, otherwise he will be coerced to serve COMPOL with contempt of court application if Mokokoâ€™s judgment is not adhered to.
He said the police have sent them a letter stating that they are yet to deal with the logistics as they had already replaced the recruits with other people.
â€œItâ€™s not their business that they (recruits) were replaced yet it was known that their case is still in court. I am giving them until Monday and if they are not returned then I will serve them with an application,â€ he said.
Asked for comment, Holomo said he was not privy to the Justice Mokoko ruling adding that he would learn the judgement before commenting on the matter.
â€œI have not heard about it (judgment), it is my first time to hear about it from you I am yet to study it,â€ he said adding that he didnâ€™t know that the recruits were denied entry back into the training centre.
Soon after being evicted from PTC, this paper spoke with the Police spokesperson Mpiti Mopeli who said the dozen were suspected to be gangsters hence they were sent-back from the Centre at the time.
The discharged recruits are; Moliehi Dlamini, Mokhethi Damane, Lebaka Motiea, Kopano Ramokhoro, Ngaka Lenka, Mojela Gugushe, Thabang Maime, Lechesa Lepheane, Poloko Sekhohola, Refiloe Kheleli, Moorosi Kalane and Sebongile Cekwane from first to twelfth applicants respectively.
Justice Mokokoâ€™s ruling stated that â€œâ€¦The decision of the first Respondent (Molibeli) to discharge the Applicants from the Police Training College Programme be and is hereby reviewed and set aside as irregular and wrongful thus null and void ab initio and of no legal force and effect.
â€œThe Respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to reinstate the Applicants back into the Police Training College Recruitment Programme without loss of status and benefits and to pay the Applicants any arrear salaries which may have been paid in their absence,â€ Mokokoâ€™s ruling reads.
The respondents are ordered to pay costs.
Ironically, all these happens at the time when Molibeli is in a legal tiff with the Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Mojoro, following the Premierâ€™s intent to advice His Majesty to retire Molibeli, who is battling for his position while pursuing recruitsâ€™ ouster in the police training programme.
He had rushed to court to blockade Majoroâ€™s intentions to topple him from the helm of the police administration. The case before Her Ladyship â€˜Maseforo Mahase along with the newly inaugurated justice Moneuoa Stephen Kopo and Her Ladyship â€˜MabatÅ¡oeneng Grace Hlaele was shelved last week to June 28 before 12:00pm, with the respondents set to file their heads on interlocutory by June 30, 2022 while the matter will be argued this morning (July 1, 2022 at 09:30).
Molibeli cried foul that Majoroâ€™s decision was unlawful and unconstitutional, thus seeking the courtâ€™s intervention, to stay and review Majoroâ€™s decision.
Molibeli is represented by advocate Tekane Maqakachane who was no show last Thursday as he was seized with funeral arrangements of his close cousin as was said to be one of the reasons for his failure to appear before court by his junior, advocate Katleho Nyabela.
The premier is represented by advocate Motia Teele KC.