Media Neutral Citation:
 LSHC 5
20 February, 1981
IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
In the Application of :
LINEO MAMPHO SEOTSANYANA Applicant
BORARO REALEBOHA SEOTSANYANA Respondent
Delivered by the Hon. Chief Justice, Mr. Justice
T.S. Cotran on the 20th day of February, 1981
The marriage between the parties to this application is
unfortunately on the rocks. Both husband and wife have sued each
other (CIV/T/214/80) for divorce on the grounds of, inter alia,
adultery. There are, as usual, allegations and counter allegations,
but all these matters must await the trial of the action.
I am now dealing with an urgent application in which the
applicant wife seeks orders from this Court on a number of items
pending finalisation of the divorce proceedings. The legal
representatives, (or rather the current legal representatives for
the parties changed their original ones) have agreed that at this
moment of time I should decide only the question of custody of the
two children of the marriage. There are two: Mpho a girl born in
January 1975, and Sally, a boy born on the 7th August 1977.
The serious trouble between the parties started about the
middle of 1980. Until then the children lived with their parents.
Towards the end of July 1980 the applicant wife fled the
matrimonial home allegedly after serious assaults on her by the
respondent husband leaving the children behind, and moved,
temporarily, to the Holiday Inn until she found separate
accommodation elsewhere. The dispute between the parties however
was maintained, perhaps even with more vigour, after their de facto
separation. They are a working couple. The applicant wife has a job
in Lesotho Airways and the respondent husband is a civil servant in
the Department of Civil Aviation and works at Leabua Jonathan
Airport. With their offices so close to one another "confrontations"
were and still are more numerous than they would otherwise have to
be. The applicant wife was able to see the children regularly(the
eldest was going to school in Maseru) but last month (January 1981)
the respondent husband removed them to TY, kept them at his own
mother's house, and arranged for them to go to school there.
Fortunately Mr. Jobodwana for the respondent husband/father
concedes on behalf of his client that children of tender ago should
be with their mother but ho submits that any change in the
arrangements made will interrupt the schooling of these two
children for the whole academic year. His client was willing to
bring them from TY to Maseru at the weekend where the applicant
mother can see them and may even stay with her. When the academic
year is finished she can have them. The new premises acquired
recently by the applicant wife seem adequate.
The Court must look at the best interests of the children.
These are better served if they are with the wife mother. The
question of schooling is of course important but one must remember
that the children have only been in the TY school for about a
month, that the young boy of 3? must be only in a kinder garden, and
that the girl of six has only just passed that stage. I am
therefore not impressed with this argument. It is not sufficient
to reverse the natural order 01 things Furthermore schools have
been found for them in Maseru, in fact the girl was accepted back
in the same school she attended before the husband/father transported
her and his son to TY.
I make the following orders pendente lite:
(1) The applicant/wife will have custody of the two
(2) The respondent/husband is allowed access to the
children during the weekend and they could stay
with him from Friday evening 6 p.m. to Sunday
evening 6 p.m.
(3) The task of transporting them from their mother's
house to the father's house and back again to the
mother's house should be entrusted to relatives
acceptable to the parties.
(4) The children may spend half their vacations with
Mr. Maqutu mentioned the question of maintenance. I think
the matter can await the outcome of the divorce proceedings but
if there is urgency Mr Magutu and Mr. Jobodwana must seek another
date from the Registrar and set this aspect of the matter down
for a hearing. One hopes that the parties will act as adults
and come to a mutually agreed settlement.
Respondent/husband will pay costs of this part of the
20th February 1981
For Applicant: Mr. Maqutu with copies of the Judgment
For Respondent: Mr. Jobodwana