Two puisne judges have been added to the Lesotho bench in Justice Realeboha Mathaba and Justice Fumane â€˜Malebona Khabo after the two took their Allegiance and judicial oath at the Royal Palace on Wednesday to add to a bench of seven judges including Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane.
Speaking on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony, High Court Registrar, â€˜Mathato Sekoai indicated that Mathaba has been given the responsibility to take care of High Court Commercial court while Khabo will help in the high court.
â€œThese are the results of what we saw for the first time where they were called in an open interview after a background check was made. Mathaba and Khabo proved themselves which is why they are being sworn-in today,â€ she said.
The initiative to add more judges to the bench comes after the judiciary experienced a backlog of cases. On February 15, 2021, the Judicial Service Commission published an advertisement calling for nomination and applications to fill seven (7) vacancies of Puisne Judges of the High Court. The closing date for submissions of applications was penned for March 26, 2021 and the advert attracted a total of thirty-six (36) candidates.
The shortlisted candidates were, Advocates Fumane Malebane Khabo, Moneuoa Stephen Kopo, Realeboha Mathaba, Makhele Julius Sekati, Kuena Mabotosa Thabane and â€˜MamotÅ¡ilisi Khiba who were interview at Manthabiseng Convention Centre this year.
According to Sekoai, more interviews are yet to be conducted in search of more judges. She said there are over five vacancies where two judges will be appointed to marshal the Leribe High Court branch.
Khabo holds LLM in Labour Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science acquired in 2000.
She worked as President of the Labour Court of Lesotho at the Ministry of Labour and Employment in April 2015 to March 2021, Acting President of the Labour Court Lesotho at the same Ministry in June 2012 to April 2015. Deputy President of the Labour Court of Lesotho at the Ministry of Labour and Employment in February 2002 to June 2012.
As for Mathaba, he holds a Master of Laws (Business Entities) from the University of Free State (SA) in 2016.
He worked as Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary at the Water Sewerage Company from October 2018 to 2021, Commissioner Enforcement at the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) in April 2013-June 2018. He became a Practising Advocate at S.Phafane Chambers in May 2002 to June 2004.
He further worked as Acting Commissioner General at the LRA from December 2015 to December 2016. Head Litigation at the same institution from July 2007 to March 2013, Legal Officer in Authority from July 2004 to June 2007.