MEDIA ADVISORY: LESOTHO HIGH COURT TO HEAR CASE ON DISMISSAL OF PREGNANT SOLDIERS

Salc : Staff Writer

Maseru, Lesotho – On Monday, the 11 December 2017, the Lesotho High Court will hear the case of 3 female Privates of the Lesotho Defence Forces who are challenging their discharge from service on the grounds of falling pregnant in contravention of a Standing Order. The matter was postponed from the 2 November 2017, for it to be enrolled before 3 judges.

Background

The Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force in March 2016 issued a Standing Order to the effect that any female soldiers with less than 5 years’ service who got pregnant willfully or negligently would be discharged from the force. The applicants, two of whom were married, and one of whom subsequently had a miscarriage, became pregnant and were discharged from military service for willful disobedience of a Standing Order. They were discharged by then Commander of the LDF, Lt. Gen. Kamoli, without being subjected to a summary trial or court martial. The applicants are challenging their discharge and submit that it was unlawful, unreasonable and irrational because they were discharged without a trial and proper hearing for the purposes of determining their guilt and assessing the appropriate sentence as provided for in the Act. In addition, they argue that the Standing Order itself is unlawful as it is contrary to public policy and the common law principles of rationality, reasonableness and legality and that there is no reasonable justification for it.

When:   11 December 2017 at 9.30a.m

Where: Lesotho High Court 4 (before Justices Monapathi J (presiding), Peete J and Sakoane J)

What:  Mokhele and Others v Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force and Others, Case No.CIV/APN/442/16

The applicants are represented by Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai of Phoofolo Associates Incorporated, supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Advocate Rasekoai can be contacted on: +266 5250 0403, +266 5250 0402, +266 5842 4794.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTHERN AFRICA LITIGATION CENTRE