Health inspector on the run

Health inspector on the run

Staff Reporter

MASERU

 

A Mohale’s Hoek health inspector is on the run after a magistrate threatened to lock her up for contempt of court.

Tebello Kolobe, who is a health inspector for the Mohale’s Hoek district, found herself in trouble after she declined to accept an application for an inspection certificate filed by a businessperson of Indian origin.

Kolobe in a letter she wrote to her superiors at the health headquarters in Maseru said a certain Mr Ranjot owned a building in Mohale’s Hoek and was renting it to businesspeople who wanted her to inspect so that they could get an inspection certificate.

This certificate would enable the Ministry of Trade to issue them with relevant documents that would enable then to rent out the building.

The businesses were Save and Enjoy Enterprises (Pty) Ltd which wanted to operate a supermarket at the building and Hot & Spicy Takeaway.

Kolobe’s letter, seen by thepost, showed that she declined to inspect the building because the owners had refused to give her relevant documents which she required for the inspection.

Instead of giving her the documents, the owners applied to the magistrate’s court where she was ordered to inspect the building, which she did.

She says upon arrival at the site she demanded that the applicants produce the environmental permit and building plan which they failed to do.

“My office was not bound to continue with the inspection failing the provision of the said documents,” she said in her report.

However, since she was already onsite she conducted a walk-through and observed that construction was still ongoing at the building.

She also saw that both premises were not furnished, e.g. shelving and counters in the snack bar were still being assembled and constructed while the supermarket was just a hall with no fittings.

The water closets were also not connected to the main sewer line.

However, Save and Enjoy’s manager Devender Pal Singh told the court that the health inspector had refused to issue their inspection certificate for no apparent reason.

“She indicated that she would not do so but could not give reasons once again,” he said.

“We continue to pay rentals without reaping any benefits,” he said.

Kolobe wrote a memo to her authorities in Maseru asking the ministry to defend her actions. But on April 27, 2016 Kolobe was summoned to court to show cause why she could not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with its order.

The attorney general and the Ministry of Health were also called to show the same cause but the case was not defended.

This was despite that on February 16, 2016 Kolobe had made a follow-up inspection in harmony with the court order.

She reported that the documents she wanted were still unavailable and therefore “my office’s final decision on the applications could not be reached, pending the submission of the said legal documents that would complement full inspection”.

“Over and above that, the office of the Officer Commanding MHoek Police Station has just issued my office with a letter advising me of the advanced investigations on the same plot,” her report reads.

The Health Ministry’s legal department could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe told thepost yesterday that he was not aware of the case because “as you might be aware I am not dealing with the cases personally”.

Court messenger Tlokotsi Mosolo has given the court his return of service showing that he served the attorney general and two other respondents saying “they have received and signed” the summonses.

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