The High Court has ruled in favor of Anna Mokgethi following an application to have the Minister held in contempt of court. The matter relates to the estate of the deceased Abdul Joseph for which Mokgethi’s law firm is the executrix. The deceased’s grand daughter , Mpho Masenya, instituted legal proceedings against the Minister in 2020 calling upon Mokgethi to provide a full account of the Estate saying she was not satisfied with her level of accounting for the estate.
The High Court ordered that Mokgethi, within 30 calendar days from May 29, 2020, furnish to the Master of the High Court and Masenya, a full and current accounting in respect of the assets and liabilities of Joseph’s Estate Number and provide details of all transactions relating to the Estate from the date of the issue of the Letters of Administration up to the date of accounting, and also provide an update and accurate inventory of the Estate.
Mokgethi, dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court, unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Appeal (CoA) questioning Masenya’s right to institute the proceedings in the court High Court. The CoA issued an order on August 6, 2021 dismissing the appeal by Mokgethi saying the order of the High Court had to be complied with within 30 days of the handing down of its (CoA) own judgment, consequently extending the High Court’s June 30, 2020 deadline. Masenya had also instituted contempt proceedings against Mokgethi at CoA, arguing that the Minister was in contempt of court for having failed to comply with the June, 2020 order of the High Court.
The CoA dismissed her application on the basis that it was not the Court of first instance, and thus referred Masenya back to her pending contempt application before the lower court. The High Court handed down its ruling on the matter last week, dismissing Masenya’s application. In his judgement Justice Michael Leburu acknowledged the CoA’s extension of the deadline. Mokgethi had argued, through her lawyers Bonolo Itumeleng and Basimane Bogopa that while the contempt of court application was lodged with the High Court on the 14th August 2020, the CoA extended the deadline for compliance to the 7th September 2021, and thus rendering the contempt application premature.
Judge Leburu found that the extension of the deadline by the CoA made it abundantly clear that Masenya’s contempt application (lodged before the expiry of the CoA’s deadline set for compliance) is not ripe for adjudication. “Initially when it was lodged it was ripe for adjudication but the extension of the deadline for compliance by the Court of Appeal rendered the application not ripe. Put differently, this application was brought before the cause for action has accrued. The cause of action would thus accrue after the set deadline.”
Consequently, Leburu ordered that Masenya’s application be struck out. “There is no order as to cost,” the judge ordered.