Monday, March 4, 2024

Botswana Life facing the auctioneer’s hammer

Botswana Life Insurance rushed to court last week in a bid to stop five of its vehicles from being auctioned off by a disgruntled client.

Tabengwa Kudzani who took the life insurance company to court for refusing to pay him P500 000 in disability benefits was last year granted a default judgement by the Francistown High Court.

According to court records, the plaintiff (Kudzani) had registered under a policy (Poelo Exclusive Policy) with Botswana Life Insurance (respondent) on the 30th of November 2019.

The policy has a Capital Disability benefit which covers clients in case they are disabled. The plaintiff claims that he qualified for P500 000 as disability benefit.

On the 17th of September 2020 Kudzani, who was employed by Unitrans as a truck driver had his employment terminated. On the 26th of October 2020 he was diagnosed with chronic low back pain, and on 4th of May 2021 was declared a person living with disability by the District Health Management Team (DHMT) in Francistown.

Kudzani then informed Botswana Life Insurance (respondent) about his condition. Botswana Life Insurance however declined to compensate him, arguing that his condition pre-existed and as such the claim was not contractually valid.

Kudzani then filed a case against Botswana Life Insurance with Justice Lot Moroka at the Francistown High Court. Botswana Life was served with a writ of summons on 3rd  December 2021. The insurance company did not respond to the claim and Kudzani went back to Francistown High Court where he applied for a default judgment. The default judgment was granted on the 25th of March 2022.

He has instructed Deputy Sheriff Obakeng Kgwakgwe to execute the writ of execution.  The Sheriff on12th of April 2022 attached five vehicles belonging to Botswana Life in Gaborone.
Botswana Life on the 14th of April 2022 however filed an urgent application challenging execution. The matter is currently before Francistown High Court Judge Bengbame Sechele. Kudzani engaged Francistown based attorney Gontse Simon who raised a number of points of law.

As part of his arguments in court against Botswana Life, Simon said the matter was not urgent and could not precede an application for rescission. He also brought to the court’s attention that the application did not comply with order 12 rule 1 of the High Court which states that “Every application shall state the rule under which an application is brought before court.”

Simon also argued that the Benefit and Claims Manager at Botswana Life Insurance Thuso Selei who deposed to the founding affidavit was not entitled to do so as he was not empowered by the resolution of the Board of Directors. He said the Chief Executive Officer at the company is the one who is empowered to do so.

“This application also did not comply with order 13, rule 16 of the High Court which specifically states that every exhibit or annexure referred to in an affidavit shall be initialed by the deponent and the Commissioner or the officer before whom the affidavit is sworn on the date it is sworn to,” he added.

On the other hand, Elemang Modisane, the lawyer representing Botswana Life maintained in her arguments that they complied with every rule of the High Court and as such the application must be granted in their favor.

Judgment has been reserved for the 18th May 2022.


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