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Battle for justice ensues

…as court seeks clarity over Ramanase’s ambiguous death

Mafa Moleko

The High Court of Lesotho has issued an interim order to seven parties involved in the ambiguous death of a factory worker who lost her life during a labour protest earlier this year.

The seven parties have been summoned in court order to furnish clarity pertaining the death of Motšelisi Ramanase. According to the court order, the respondents are first to last Tšepong (Pty), Ltd, Netcare Lesotho, Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH), Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Commissioner of Police, Attorney General and Maseru Private Hospital who have all been summoned to show up in court on August 23, 2021.

The court finally arbitrated to the application filed by the Ramanase family to the High Court requesting an intervention in the probing of the death of their child. With this initiative, the court released an order to the seven involved parties to shed light on account of the deceased’s death.

According to the urgent order, the ordinary notice period and modes of services have been dispensed, thus, refraining all the respondents except the Maseru Private Hospital from meddling with the documents that have been presented before court.

According to Teboho Ramanase, the family was compelled to file the court application to find the facts surrounding her death after being sent from pillar to post.

“The case of her death is hurting, but the ambiguity of what took her life hits harder. We want to rest and heal but only a disclosure will grant us that opportunity,” he said.

He told this publication she was a bread winner in the family and that her absence can be felt and seen in the family.

The release of the order comes after the report given by the first doctor who admitted Ramanase at Maseru Private Hospital revealed that she was still alive when she was admitted at the hospital. The report further discloses that the 27 years old was admitted with gun-shot wounds to her lower torso on May 25.

Reports indicate that Ramanase was transferred to Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) where she breathed her last. Teboho told this publication in the last issue (Issue 29, volume 3) that QMMH was not willing to release a report explaining how the deceased was when admitted at the hospital (QMMH) from Maseru Private.

“The primary reports from the police said my mum asked for help from one police officer which he knew citing that she has been shot,” he said.

Teboho said he went to collect the corpse at QMMH but was told that the corpse belongs to the police but learnt later that the body had been taken by the Pitso Ground Police for post-mortem.

The grief-stricken Teboho explained that the police post mortem demonstrated that the deceased succumbed to a stab of a sharp object which led to her final silence.  He added that this prompted the family to file the court application for the reports to be released.

Ramanase died during factory workers’ strike over salary increment, while many labourers were badly injured from police assault. The strike is said to have affected the street vendors plying their trades at the site as well as the Thetsane communities living nearby the factories.

The Lesotho Mounted Police Services Spokesperson, Mpiti Mopeli said everyone is welcomed to open a case for any brutality that took place.  The hearing is set to proceed at the High Court on August 23, 2021.

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