Francistown Small Claims Magistrate Jennifer Chikate has ordered Francistown Deputy Mayor, Lechedzani Mudenga to pay a three-month instalments of P5000.00 to settle a P15 000 loan that he had got from Lumbidzani Bajo sometime last year.
It has emerged that the councillor’s take home salary is only P200 thereby making the prospects of paying the P5000.00 installment look bleak. If he fails, chances are that he will go to jail. During a previous court session, when the plaintiff’s lawyer, David Olatotse made a garnishee order against Mudenga, the Francistown City Council (FCC) furnished the plaintiff’s lawyer David Olatotse with a letter revealing that the councillor’s net pay is P200.00 .
Chikate then ruled that the Council should substantiate their claim. Defending Mudenga was Careb Mbenda, Council attorney who handed a bank statement to the Magistrate to refer to facts which were written. “His net pay is P200 after all deductions have been made. We have indicated to the plaintiff that the defendant does not have sufficient funds to meet the plea,” he said.
Olatotse rebutted Mbenda’s statement saying that looking at the letter all the deductions made are voluntary. He said that the bank statement indicated that indeed some transactions are made voluntarily. “In March he paid the amount of P7000 voluntarily in loans, P3000 to Botlhale Investments and P100 to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) being a subscription fee,” he said pleading with the Magistrate to give the garnishee order preference. Chikate then ruled that Mudenga should pay P5000 per month as prescribed by the garnishee order.
Approached for comment, the Mayor of Francistown, Sylvia Muzila said that this was a personal matter and now that it was in the public domain it needed the city council to intervene. However she said that it would be better if he comes forth so that they can discuss it with the view to access his other sources of income and see a way forward. Muzila said that the Council cannot give Mudenga an emergency loan. “An emergency loan would have been possible but considering what he is earning, paying back might be difficult,” Muzila explained.