16 years after she sold a plot for her mother, who reportedly needed the money to pay for her own mother’s hospital bills, Regina Mathiba has been dragged to the customary court by her cousin.
Demanding answers, 36-year-old Orapeleng Ben insists the land was not Mathiba’s to sell.
Instead, he maintains the developed plot, which includes a house and is located in Gaborone West Phase 1, belonged to his late father, Mokubetsi Madumetsi.
Accusing Mathiba of robbing him and his siblings of their inheritance, Ben was in a fiery mood as the civil case played out before Gaborone West Customary Court last Wednesday.
“I want to know why you saw it fit to sell my father’s plot because it is rightfully ours as his children. In addition, did you even know that we existed as you have never assisted us with anything?” blasted Ben.
Hitting back, an emotional Mathiba maintained she was given the plot by her mum, Goitsemang Madumetsi, and aunt, Ntuka Madumetsi, to sell on behalf of their mother, Khuluma Piet, back in 2006.
Piet, who was Mokubetsi’s sister, was sick and needed the money to cover her medical bills.
“I delivered the request and successfully sold the house; I gave them the money but I had asked to be thanked with a sum of P6,000 because I had carried out that task using my resources (car),” said Mathiba, who did not disclose how much the plot was sold for.
Insisting this was not a shady deal conducted secretly, she added, “All of our siblings were called and told about the sale of the plot.”
To further confuse matters, the trio of Goitsemang, Mokubetse and Piet have all since passed away.
Backing up her son’s testimony, Ben’s mother, Leitirile Letsholo, maintained the plot was the property of her late husband.
“I helped Mokubetsi to settle in and I am certain that plot belonged to him. If the plot was to be sold, I had to be one of the first people to know but I was not notified,” she said.
Another relative, Mompoloki Moruakgomo, 27, who is Ben’s cousin, was the next to take the stand.
He told court he grew up on the plot with his mother, Mmaphofu Madumetsi, who is a sibling to Piet and Mokubetse, but that she died in 2004.
“A family meeting was called and a will was read suggesting that the plot was in Khuluma Piet’s name. A few years later, we were called again and told that the plot had been sold. However, we were offered a smaller share, which we refused. I feel if it was up to me, all concerned parties would have been called for another gathering and the monies shared equally,” said Moruakgomo.
Presiding over the case, Kgosi Arnold Somolekae ordered that Botswana’s Self-Help Housing Agency (SHHA) should be called to come and explain how the matter reached that point.
“Furthermore, I want to know whether Mathiba knew Madumetsi (Mokubetsi) and whether she knew the deceased had children who deserved the inheritance,” queried Somolekae.
In response, Mathiba said she was familiar with Mokubetsi, who was her uncle, but was unaware he had any children – an answer that seemed to appease the Kgosi.
The matter will return to court between 15th – 22th November.