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No lawyer for Ntsie



MASERU – Habofanoe Lephuthela Ntsie, who has been convicted for the double murder of two Maseru men, is struggling to find a lawyer to represent him.

Ntsie, who murdered Habaka Mahao and Souru Masupha at the Lancer’s Gap atop Berea Plateau in 2004 appeared before Justice ’Maseforo Mahase without a lawyer on Tuesday.

He was supposed to have told Justice Mahase why she should be lenient with him in sentencing him after he was found guilty of the murder of the two men back in 2012.

The case could not proceed because there was no lawyer to represent Ntsie.

When asked why he did not have a lawyer, Ntsie said he “was denied a chance to write to my lawyer until I went on a hunger strike”.

He said it was only after the hunger strike when Advocate Motene Rafoneke went to the Maseru Central prison to see him last week.

“But Mr Rafoneke told me that he could not represent me,” Ntsie told the judge.

Justice Mahase asked a warder at the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) what happened because she had ordered that Ntsie should be afforded time to have a lawyer.

The warder said they did as they were told by the court order.

He said Advocate Rafoneke came and told Ntsie that he could not represent him.

The officer also said another lawyer, RP Molapo, wrote a letter in which he stated that he too could not represent Ntsie.

Ntsie told the judge that he also spoke to Advocate Letuka Molati who promised to represent him.

The court waited for Advocate Molati but he did not arrive until the judge said the court should adjourn till Advocate Molati is found.

Later the assistant registrar, Advocate Edward Maiketso, was called in to give a clear explanation about the letters from the three lawyers.

Advocate Maiketso said he received two letters from the LCS two weeks ago that were both wrapped in an envelope.

“One was written by Mr Rafoneke and the other was written by RP Molapo,” Advocate Maiketso said.

He said a messenger, one Poloko, had delivered the letters to the lawyers and “I did not get any response from the lawyers”.

Advocate Maiketso said he learnt on Monday that Advocate Molapo said he would not represent Ntsie because he was busy while Advocate Rafoneke promised to go to prison to see Ntsie and that was all.

On Tuesday after Justice Mahase adjourned the court to find Advocate Molati, Advocate Maiketso said he made him aware that he had a case to attend “and his response was he would not represent Mr Ntsie at all even if he was paid, in all fairness he would not do so”.

Ntsie was then given a chance to say whether he needed time to find another lawyer or the state would provide him with one.

Ntsie responded that he would like the court to reinstate his bail so that he could find himself a lawyer but Justice Mahase immediately told him that she could not do that because he might flee as he did last time.

He was then given until October 21 to find a new lawyer or the state would provide him with one.

Ntsie fled the country in 2012 during a lunch break at the High Court after Justice Mahase found him guilty of the murder of the two men.

He was arrested in Johannesburg and extradited to Lesotho in March.

Ntsie was facing a possible death sentence when he ran away from the court in April 2012 after Justice Mahase convicted him of the two murders.

He is however not likely to face the death sentence because of the extradition treaty between the two countries.

Tholoana Lesenya

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[BREAKING NEWS] Lebona sets curfew



MASERU– In an effort to curb the rampant increase of homicides in Lesotho, the Minister of Police Lebona Lephema has announced a 10:00pm-4:00am curfew, effective Tuesday May 16, 2023. Failure to comply with the curfew attracts a 2 years imprisonment or a fine.

Staff Reporter

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Two nurses deleted for misconduct



MASERU – A Kolonyama midwife, ’Mamalibeng Ralenkoane, who allegedly neglected a woman during labour has been deleted from the nurses’ register for the next six months.

The woman went on to deliver her baby by herself without professional assistance.

In another case the secretary-general of the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC), ’Mamonica Makhoswonke Mokhesi, has also been deleted for violating a patient’s privacy.

The LNC’s disciplinary chairman, Advocate Rapapa Sepiriti, said Ralenkoane had committed an act of serious misconduct and deserved severe punishment.

Advocate Sepiriti ruled that Ralenkoane “should not be seen anywhere attending (to) patients”.

Ralenkoane was working as a midwife at the Little Flower Health Centre in Kolonyama, Leribe, when ’Mateboho Letlala was admitted there for labour in August 2020.

Letlala told the panel that Ralenkoane took her to the examination room and later left her despite that there were signs that she could give birth anytime.

“At 19:00 pm Ralenkoane examined the patient but left her unattended and the patient had to deliver on her own,” Advocate Sepiriti said in his verdict.

“Clearly the blame has to be put at the door of Ralenkoane,” he said.

Adv. Sepiriti ruled that she should be deleted with immediate effect for 12 months, half of which was suspended.

“During these six months period, Ralenkoane is prohibited in any way from attending patients and this judgment should be delivered at her place of work,” he said.

Letlala in her testimony said by the time Ralenkoane arrived, she was already having severe labour pains and was told to go to the labour ward for assessment.

She said when she stepped down the labour bed Ralenkoane said to her: “Ua seke ua tatela ho hema empa molomo oa popelo o buleile ka 3cm’ (meaning she seemed to be in a hurry yet the cervix had opened by 3cm only).

“I was so surprised because I could feel I was very close to delivering because this was my second child and I could say I have experience,” she said.

She said she told the nurse that she needed to use the toilet but was instructed to use a pan instead.

“As she left me on the bed pan I could not stand from the pan as the pains were severe. I called for help but to no avail,” she said.

She said the moment she got energy to stand from the bed pan she saw blood, she called her but there was no response.

“Ralenkoane promised to come after two hours but there were no instructions on what to do in case I needed help prior to two hours,” she said.

“I wheeled myself to the bed and sat on it, still calling to no avail.”

She said while still alone, her membranes raptured and the time of birth came and the baby was delivered.

“The child did not fall as I was able to hold him,” she said.

She phoned her aunt who told her to find s scissor to cut the umbilical cord.

She said she bled a lot and ran out of energy, then Ralenkoane arrived at around midnight.

“When she came in she asked where the baby was and I pointed to where I had put him where he clamped the cord,” she said.

She said it was then that she got assistance.

The investigator for Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one Nteso, told Advocate Sepiriti that his findings were that “the mother’s life was in danger as she was found having bled heavily and tired and the baby’s life was also in danger from prolonged exposure which could lead to hypothermia and brain damage”.

“Ralenkoane was not there for the mother until she delivered in the absence of the midwife, this is a case of negligence,” he said.

However, in mitigation Ralenkoane said this was her first time to appear before the panel and has been a nurse for more than nine years.

She said she has two children to support and she has already been punished by the clinic as she was dismissed and that she has policies and loans.

She pleaded with the panel to have mercy on her.

In another case Mokhesi who was the Secretary General of LNC was also deleted from the register for two years after she was found guilty of sharing a patient’s picture on social media without their consent.

She was accused of defamation of character and violating the patient’s privacy by posting pictures of the injuries he had incurred.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Nurses back at work



MASERU -NURSES who have been on strike since Monday are set to resume work this morning after the government started paying their salaries.

The nurses went on a go-slow last week but escalated to a full-fledged strike on Monday after the government delayed their salaries. Some nurses claimed they had not been paid since March.

Morephe Santi, the secretary general of the Lesotho Nurses’ Association (LNA), said they have started telling members to go back to work after the government said the salaries will start reflecting in their accounts last night.

The strike has inflicted huge reputational damage on Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government which came to power on promises of efficiency.

Minister of Public Service Richard Ramoeletsi blamed the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the delay in April salaries.

Ramoeletsi told parliament last week that the two financial management systems were unable to reconcile, leading to delays in salaries.

But that explanation was little consolation for patients who bore the brunt of the strike.

At least 20 expectant mothers at Machabeng Hospital in Qacha’s Nek were told to go home because nurses could not help them.

Some of the women were later admitted at Tebellong Hospital, a facility under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).

“We were staying at the hospital’s roundavel awaiting our time to go to labour but on Thursday afternoon (last week we were called by the nurses and they told us to go to other hospitals or go back home,” said Maretlotliloe Mpeli, who is heavily pregnant.

She said the nurses told them that they could not work on empty stomachs.

’Matlotla Poling, 19, from Ha-Rankakala said she had to call her parents because she did not have any money to either go back home or to Tebellong Hospital.

The Machabeng Hospital management declined to comment, referring thepost to the ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, said Machabeng Hospital “did not expel the expecting mothers but merely sent them back home”.

“Due to the ongoing strike by doctors countrywide …they decided to take those women to the places where they would get help,” Mosebekoa said.

There was similar anguish at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“The strike has affected all the departments including the kitchen, maternity, and emergencies, but the managers are on duty,” said ’Makananelo Sepipi, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sepipi said managers were forced to hold the forte “because some sections cannot be left unattended utterly due to their importance”.

“The operations are happening in the emergency section, even though they do not operate in a normal way.”

She said patients whose operations were scheduled for this week were sent back home.

Santi, the LNA’s secretary general, blamed the government for the chaos caused by the strike.

Santi said as much as the government likes to call them an essential service they do not prioritise their ministry.

“They do not appreciate us, it is like they do not see the importance of our job,” Santi said.

“The government turns a blind eye to the fact that our working environment alone can put us at risk of contracting diseases.”

“Now we are not able to buy food and other necessities.”

Nkheli Liphoto & Thooe Ramolibeli

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