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IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOTSWANA

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOTSWANA

    IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOTSWANA

    HELD AT LOBATSE

    Misca. No. 52 of 2002

    In the matter between:

    st1 Applicant ROY SESANA nd2 & further Applicants KEIWA SETLHOBOGWA AND OTHERS

     and

    Respondent THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (in his

    capacity as Recognized agent of the

    . Government of the Republic of Botswana)

    Mr. G. Bennett for the Applicants

    Mr. S.T.Pilane with him Mr. L. D. Molodi for the Respondent ; I

    JUDGMENT

     CORAM: Hon. Mr. Justice M. Dibotelo

     Hon. Justice U. Dow

    Hon. Mr. Justice M. P. Phumaphi

    M. DIBOTELO. J.:

    1. On the 19 February 2002, the Applicants filed an urgent

    application on notice of motion seeking at paragraphs 2 and 3

    thereof an order declaring, inter alia, that:

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    "2 (a) The termination by the Government with effect from 31 January 2002 of the following basic and essential services to the Applicants in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) (namely) -

    (i) the provision of drinking water on a weekly

    basis;

    (ii) the maintenance of the supply of

    borehole water;

    (iii) the provision of rations to registered

    destitutes;

    (iv) the provision of rations for registered

    orphans;

    (v) the provision of transport for the

    Applicants' children to and from school;

    (vi) the provision of healthcare to the

    Applicants through mobile clinics and

    ambulance services

    is unlawful and unconstitutional;

    (b) the Government is obliged to:

    (i) restore to the Applicants the basic and

    essential services that it terminated with

    effect from 31 January 2002; and

    (ii) continue to provide to the Applicants the

    basic and essential services that it had

    been providing to them immediately prior

    to the termination of the provision of these

    services;

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    (c) those Applicants, whom the Government

    forcibly removed from the Central Kalahari

    Game Reserve (CKGR) after the

    termination of the provision to them of the

    basic and essential services referred to

    above, have been unlawfully despoiled of

    their possession of the land which they

    lawfully occupied in their settlements in the

    CKGR, and should immediately be restored

    to their possession of that land.

    3. the Respondent pays the Applicants' costs."

    The Application was supported by the founding affidavit

    of the First Applicant.

    2. On the 4 March 2002, the First Applicant filed a supplementary

    affidavit seeking additional declaratory orders " ..... that the

    refusal by the Government's Department of Wildlife and National Parks to:

    (a) issue special game licences to the Applicants; and (b) allow them to enter the CKGR unless they possess a

     permit,

     is unlawful and unconstitutional."

    The application was opposed by the Respondent who filed several opposing affidavits. The Applicants then filed the replying affidavit of the First Applicant and several supplementary or supporting affidavits. In his opposing papers, the Respondent also raised several points in limine. When the matter came up for hearing only the points of law were argued. On the 19 April 2002 I upheld those points of law and dismissed the application but in doing so, I also granted the Applicants, if they so wished, leave to re-institute their action on properly prepared papers in terms of the Rules of Court.

    3. The Applicants were dissatisfied with my decision and took the matter to the Court of Appeal which on the 11 July 2002 took the view that it should be referred back to this Court for determination of the issues to be agreed by the parties. On the 23 January 2003 after the parties had formulated and agreed on the issues, the Court of Appeal referred this matter to the High Court, inter alia, in the following terms:

    “IT IS ORDERED BY CONSENT AS FOLLOWS:

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    1. The matter is referred to the High Court for the hearing of oral evidence by the Applicants' witnesses at Ghanzi and the Respondent's witnesses at Lobatse on a date to be determined by the Registrar as a matter of urgency in consultation with the parties' legal representatives on the following issues:

    st (a) whether the termination with effect from 31

    January 2002 by the Government of the provision of

    basic and essential services to the Appellants in the

    Central Kalahari Game Reserve was unlawful and

    constitutional.

    (b) whether the Government is obliged to restore the

    provision of such services to the Appellants in the

    Central Kalahari Game Reserve;

    st (c) whether subsequent to 31 January 2002 the

    Appellants were:

    (i) in possession of the land which they lawfully

    occupied in their settlements in the Central

    Kalahari Game Reserve;

    (ii) deprived of such possession by the

    Government forcibly or wrongly and without

    their consent.

    (d) whether the Government's refusal to:

    (i) issue special game licences to the Appellants;

    and

     (ii) allow the Appellants to enter into the Central

    Kahalahari Game Reserve unless they are

    issued with a permit

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    is unlawful and constitutional."

    Paragraph 8 of that Order states in part that:

    "The Court will give its full reasons in a judgment

    which will be handed down before the end of the

    session."

    4. The judgment referred to in paragraph 8 of the order was in fact handed down on the same day the order was made, i.e.

    rdthe 23 January 2003. In that judgment the Court of Appeal expressed the view that whether it upheld or set aside the judgment of this Court against which the applicants had

    appealed, "on the affidavits which were already filed either by the appellants or by the respondent there would clearly be serious disputes of fact” (vide page 2 of that judgment); and

     went on to state at page 6 thereof that ..... the whole purpose

    of referring the matter for the hearing of oral evidence was to overcome any problems in relation to affidavits filed thus far and that any issues relating to them should no longer be a

    consideration in having the dispute between the parties resolved by oral evidence", (my emphasis).

    5. Issues 1(a) to (d) of the Court of Appeal order are the ones that require to be determined by this Court. Furthermore, a close examination of these issues reveals that they substantially incorporate the reliefs originally sought by the Applicants at paragraph 2 of their notice of motion, and the reliefs contained in the supplementary affidavit of the First Applicant filed on the 4 March 2002. The Respondent has urged the Court to determine who the Applicants are in this action so that there should be no doubt or confusion as to who the beneficiaries of the court order would be in the event the Court finds in favour of the Applicants, especially when it came to the implementation of the court order by the Government. It is an established principle that a Court should be able to supervise its own orders and to achieve that purpose it is important that there should be certainty as to who the litigants are in any given case. The Court has also from time to time raised this matter with Counsel for the Applicants because no witnesses

    who testified purported to speak for all the Applicants; even Losolobe Mooketsi (PW7) who relocated to New Xade where he

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    was a paid Headman of Arbitration for Kikao Ward did not purport to speak on behalf of the Applicants. It has been argued by Counsel for the Applicants "that it would have been utterly impossible to call more than 240 Applicants to testify as to the individual circumstances in which each of them was relocated." This may well be so but it did not and could not debar or prevent the calling of the leaders of the Applicants to testify on behalf of the Applicants in regard to the circumstances surrounding the relocation of the Applicants from

    the CKGR in early 2002. It is also important to identify who the

    Applicants are so that the outcome in this action binds only those persons. When the action was instituted there were 243 Applicants and some have since died, but were not substituted, while others did not come forward to prosecute their claim. One hundred and eighty-nine Applicants have authorized Attorneys Boko, Motlhala and Ketshabile to represent them in this action and it is those Applicants whose names appear in

    Table A annexed to the judgment who are parties to this action.

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    6. The trial took some 130 days spread over a period of just over two years and the typed record of the proceedings comprise some 18,900 pages. During the trial, there were several lengthy postponements at the instance of the Applicants, and save, for only one week when one of us was bereaving due to the loss of his mother, and may Her soul rest in ever lasting peace, the trial was never postponed for the reason that the Court was in no position to proceed with the same. At the commencement of the trial, the Court decided to conduct an inspection in loco of the new settlements of Kaudwane and New Xade outside the CKGR, and of the settlements of Gugamma, Kikao, Mothomelo, Metsiamanong, Molapo and Old Xade inside the CKGR. The decision to conduct the inspection of the settlements inside the CKGR was strongly opposed by the legal representatives of the Applicants in May 2004, but was supported by the Respondent who also asked the Court to visit Gope inside the CKGR. The main ground for opposing the inspection in loco of the settlements inside the CKGR by the legal representatives of the Applicants was that there was nothing for the Court to see in

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    those settlements as the residents who used to live there had relocated to outside the CKGR. The Court decided to defer the visit to Gope, but indicated that it would do so if the need arose during the trial. The Court conducted the inspection in loco

    ththfrom the 4 to 7 July 2004 of the new settlements outside the Reserve and those inside the Reserve. The trial commenced in New Xade on 12 July 2004 when the first witness for the Applicants started to testify. During the inspection,

    photographs were taken and a photo album and video of that inspection have been compiled.

    7. (a) At Kaudwane the Court drove around the village on

    ththe 4 July 2004 and observed the Kgotla made of a concrete structure roofed with corrugated iron; a clinic; a rural administration centre; an unused tannery; a primary school consisting of four buildings with additional buildings under construction and teachers‟ residences; semausu (vendor shop);

    homesteads with two to four huts as residential accommodation per compound; homesteads with huts and one-roomed

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