05 December 2016

A SECTION OF A TRIBE

The Royal Bafokeng Nation is known as one of Africa’s success stories, for building a nation that benefits from the wealth beneath the land it owns. At the centre of this success is a king who cares for his people, and ensures that the “nation” is developed from the royalties coming from the mining businesses on their land.
But, what the headlines don’t often mention, if at all, is that this land is in dispute and in fact, in time, this success story could turn into a nightmare for all those who have bet on it should the courts decide that the story of the Royal Bafokeng is a perpetuation of colonial-style conquest against defenseless communities. If this happens, the stakes will be high as this land forms part of the platinum belt where 80% of the world’s platinum deposits lie and where there are huge financial and political interests, both locally and internationally.
A SECTION OF A TRIBE tells the story of a community’s bitter battle with the Bafokeng King and his administration, to own the land they live on which they claim their forefathers bought under colonial rule. The people living on the land are surrounded by platinum mines yet say they receive no benefit from the mining that has disrupted their way of life. Many claim they have proof that their predecessors bought the land from Afrikaner farmers and, as black people, were forced to register their land through a white intermediary or later on, through a tribe.
On the contrary, the Royal Bafokeng King’s administration claims that the land belongs to all the Bafokeng but the community rejects King Leruo Molotlegi as their legitimate leader and the very notion that they constitute a “nation” as many in the community do not identify themselves as Bafokeng.
Watch this gripping episode about a history of a people, told with the assistance of Dr Gavin Capps, who did his doctoral thesis on the Bafokeng, and the affected communities who unravel what they say is the real story behind the Bafokeng and the legal twists and turns on their way to “reclaim their land” - a move that could ultimately change the course of history as we know it.
A SECTION OF A TRIBE is produced by Nadiva Schraibman for Special Assignment, Wednesdays at 21h30 on SABC 3.
For more information contact: The Special Assignment office: 011 714 5419

See video here: https://youtu.be/LmHQCqm7FDM?list=PLyxkBFYMs1vxeDzLlE8R5phS5JIpoGTot

03 December 2016

BLBA resolves to oppose RBN planned prepaid water meter system

A number of communities from around Rustenburg convened under the Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association '(BLBA') for their annual general meeting this past Sunday.

The communities raised a concern about the Royal Bafokeng Nation's planned installation of prepaid water meter systems in their villages. The meeting mandated the BLBA to amongst others, write a letter of complaint opposing the plan.

The communities argue that their underground water is dewatered and or contaminated by mining companies operating in their villages, and that the mines had committed to compensate communities for the damage. Such compensation to come in the form of free water provision for the affected villages.

Communities also committed to resist unlawful evictions carried out by the RBN in their villages.

BLBA shall further establish a membership system in time for their next annual general meeting.

The Executive Committee presented their annual reports and action plans for next year. The Association's next general meeting shall be held at Kgale, Phokeng.

Find the organisational report here: BLBA 2016 Organisational Report

09 November 2016

BLBA Annual General Meeting 27 Nov 2016 Thekwana Hall 9am

The Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association will be holding its 6th Annual General Meeting on the 27 November 2016, 9am at Tshukudu High School Hall, Thekwana village.

Over and above the expected annual political and organisational Reports, attorneys for Bafokeng communities' land claims will be present to give an update on the land claims and the ongoing court case 999/08 at the North West High Court.

We invite all our members and supporters to attend. We further request R100 contributions from attendants towards our office keep.

10 October 2016

Free education in South Africa is overdue, and feasible

The Bafokeng Land Buyers Association is appalled by the attitude the ANC-led Government has taken against the legitimate call for the universal human right for free education in South Africa. Why do young people have to struggle and suffer to get an education?

The justified call for free education, no different from the R12 500 minimum wage called for by slain Lonmin strikers at Marikana, indicates that South Africans are under tremendous economic pressure, and the ANC-led Government remain uncaring and directionless.
Unemployment levels in South Africa are at unacceptable high and still rising, and so are student fees.

The many South Africans who still wish to invest their future in their education, some with at least two tertiary qualifications already, are in fact despondent and fearful of the glim future they face without jobs.
Under the pretext that the quality of education and acquired qualifications are sub-standard, the few available jobs in the country remain reserved for a privileged few; foreign skilled employees; and for siblings of the few captains of industry who own the South African economy.

While estimates suggest that R70billion per annum is required to fund a free education system in South Africa, it is estimated on the same breath that well over R50billion is not accounted for annually in South African Municipalities, with well over R20billion per annum wasted.
With the South African economy richly endowed with natural resources, it was no surprise that Sir Cradock, the then British Governor of the Cape Colony in South Africa, proclaimed in 1813 that all precious metals including gold, diamonds and platinum remain the property of the imperialist British Crown. The proclamation finds expression today in the World Bank-guided Mining and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

Major mining companies in South Africa today, including political parties and traditional leaders, are still either British or American owned. It is no wonder billions of rands worth of our precious resources leave our shores unaccounted for.
Further, when 80% of rich South African land is still owned by companies and private persons who pay absolutely no allegiance to the South African transformation and reconciliation agenda, it cannot be that the ANC-led Government and the State Intelligence community are not aware of the dire state.  

That said, it does not make sense for the pressed South Africans to continue paying for education. It has become meaningless and actually not worth it to be educated in South Africa.  Education in South Africa is clearly no longer a meal ticket out of poverty, the low quality of which further upsets scholarship.
The South African education system scores high for classification as a crime against humanity. With its NSFAS and other financial aid schemes, the system is nothing but one big financial scam, and the ANC leadership complicit.   

The South African call for free education, is in fact a call for universal freedoms; and for freedom from servitude. This is not a call that young people in particular should be fighting, or persecuted for.
The World community, South Africans, and South Africans in the diaspora, are all urged to support the noble movement for universal free education!

Now!

09 September 2016

BLBA General Meeting and Heritage Day Celebrations 24 Sept 2016, LUKA

The Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association will celebrate their Heritage Day, 24 September 2016, in a General Meeting at Baphiring Lekgotla, Luka Village, 9am.

The meeting will address amongst others recent judgment on the communities' application for leave to appeal Landman's Rule 7 Judgment. The communities won the application and have been granted leave to appeal in a judgment delivered on the 01 September 2016. See Judgment - Application for leave to Appeal Rule 7 Judgment

The meeting will further deal with establishing a fundraising structure; will discuss the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) and the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill (TKLB); will deal with evictions at Tsitsing and other Bafokeng communities.

BLBA will be registering members and as such people are requested to bring R100 each for their contributions.

All in support are invited to join us.

27 July 2016

BLBA Application for Leave to Appeal hearing - 10am 29 July 2016 at NW High Court Hearing

Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association resolved at their general meeting held on the 16 June 2016 to appeal whole judgment and order of 31 March 2017 by Judge Landman in the Rule 7 Application by the LRC clients (BLBA, Setuke Family, and Thekwana Community). The Judge found that the RBN was properly authorised to bring the Main Application for the transfer and registration of some 61 farms in its name.

The Application for leave to appeal will now be heard on the 29 July 2016 at the North West High Court, Mafikeng, 10am.

The LRC clients are adamant a higher Court will come to different conclusions to those arrived at by Judge Landman.

03 June 2016

Judgment: Bafokeng Supreme Council has no powers to litigate

The Bafokeng communities are still grappling with the finding by Judge Landman that the Bafokeng Supreme Council does not have powers to institute litigation. And that such power is vested with the Traditional/ Executive Council. See in appended judgment at page 53 par (b).

The Judge found common cause at page 41 par 80 that it was the Supreme Council that took the 22 September 2005 resolution.

He later makes a contradictory finding that it was not the Supreme Council that took the 22 September 2005 resolution, but that it was the Executive/Traditional Council that did. See page 45 par 91.

Was it the RBN's case that the resolution was passed by a quorate Executive/Traditional Council?

This question and others will be addressed at BLBA's next general meeting arranged for the 16th June 2016, 9am Tsitsing Primary School. Young people are encouraged to attend.

See Judgment: BLBA Rule 7 Application

31 May 2016

Adverse judgment against Bafokeng communities not surprising

Judgment in the interlocutory matter between Bafokeng communities, represented by the Bafokeng Land Buyers’ Association (‘BLBA’), and Royal Bafokeng Nation (‘RBN’) was handed down late today at the North West High Court in Mafikeng.

In around 2008 the Bafokeng chief lodged an application with the Court to have some 61 farms registered in RBN names. BLBA opposed the application and claimed the chief did not consult with them and was not properly authorised to lodge a claim for the farms. The Court in December 2013 then ordered the chief to proof in this interlocutory matter that he was properly authorised. The matter was heard at Mogwase Magistrates Court in February 2016

The judgment which came out in favour of the RBN, ordered that the Bafokeng lawyers were properly authorised to lodge the claim in 2008. Judge Landman also found that:

(1) according to untested Bafokeng customs, the chief need not consult when taking a decision of public importance;

(2) the Bafokeng Supreme Council decision or resolution taken in 2005 authorising the chief to lodge the land claim was in fact taken by a statutory body, the Bafokeng Executive Council, and not the Supreme Council;
(3) the Supreme Council does not have such powers to institute litigation;

(4) in taking a decision to litigate, the Executive Council should form a quorum; and
(5) that when communities objected in 2006 kgotha-kgothe meetings against change of ownership and registration of their claimed farms in the name of RBN, such remonstrations did not imply rescission of the said resolution, nor was it a directive to the chief to withdraw the resolution.

Judge Landman further found that the Supreme Council did not consult with the communities before taking the said 2005 resolution. He however did not accept RBN’s contention that consultation with communities was only necessary when there was alienation of Bafokeng land. It is not clear if the Judge meant that the RBN therefore ought to have consulted.

The Judge found that despite the Executive Council’s need to meet the required quorum to pass a decision, that this point was never initially raised by LRC clients (BLBA, Thekwana Community and Setuke Family).

In conclusion, the learned Judge was satisfied that RBN lawyers proved their authority, and ordered each party to pay its own costs. He said the RBN is well resourced and that it would not be justifiable to order costs against the very same communities who form the RBN.

BLBA say they are not surprised by the judgment. But that they will weigh options at their next general meeting at Tsitsing Primary School on the 16th June. The Association has an option to either appeal the judgment, or to face the main case.

20 April 2016

Dumela Phokeng, another Bafokeng consultative farce

The Bafokeng chief has been on a drive in the past three weeks consulting communities through his five regional Dumela Phokeng meetings.

In defiance of the chief's call, Luka community did not turn up for their meeting. Communities believe the chief is trying to gain favour after his poor performance at the recent North West High Court hearing against Bafokeng land claiming communities.

‘The chief was instructing empty chairs to start paying for water and waste collection services. He said he was going to introduce prepaid water meters’, joked a community member who attended.

‘I think his strategy to avoid and ignore land claiming communities will backfire against him soon. He knows the communities had recently rejected the prepaid water meter project when it was presented by his mother’ warned Mogono community member. ‘Mogono and Lefaragatlhe communities did not mince words about this subject. They told the Lefa and Semane that communities will not pay for those services.’

The Communities contend that Impala Platinum Mines had previously committed to provide communities with free water in response to community claims that Impala Mines had contaminated their underground water. Communities contend further that Impala has dumped their mine labour force into communities’ backyards and therefore that Impala must continue to pay for waste collection services.

It is reported at Thekwane that attendance was very good, defiant and rowdy, and as a result the chief shied from tabling the water and waste collection issues.

‘He did not speak about water and waste collection. He said it was not his intention to take peoples’ lands, but wanted only to remove the Minister’s name from Bafokeng title deeds. He then committed to consult with the land claimants about their claims’ said Thekwane community member.

It is reported that the consultative meeting at the Civic Centre for the Central Region was full of misleading information.

‘Mokate and Rapetsana misled the people, saying the recent case at Mogwase Magistrates Court and Mafikeng was about certain communities wanting to secede from Bafokeng’, reported a concerned member.

It is clear that the chief has not learnt a lesson from the recent Court hearings as he continues to trample on the Constitution, and the communities’ right to be consulted.

Both him and Nyalala are seen by local communities as law unto themselves, akin to the old Bantustan despots.

There is little action communities can do as the two disputed chiefs are perceived as instruments of the current economic apartheid regime, with protection from Luthuli, Public Protector and National Parliament.

Both the Bafokeng Supreme Council and the Dumela Phokeng meetings are themselves seen as farcical consultative forums, designed to endorse the chiefs’, government and mining interests.

11 April 2016

BLBA 2015 AGM Report

BLBA held a very successful AGM on the 21 March 2016. The AGM was scheduled to coincide with celebrations and commemorations on Human Rights Day. The AGM also followed the historic North West High Court hearing on the attempted ‘heist’ of Bafokeng Communities’ land by the Bafokeng chief.

Members resolved to continue contributions or donations to fund organisational work.

The meeting elected Ms Nanabo Kgokong as the new Deputy Secretary. The meeting further resolved to hold its next general meeting at Tsitsing on the 16 June 2016.
See  BLBA 2015 Organisational Report and BLBA Chairperson's 2015 Report

14 March 2016

Kgotha-kgothe ya bareki ba mafatshe a seFokeng - BLBA AGM - 21 March 2016


Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association will be holding their AGM on Human Rights Day/ Sharpeville Day at Chaneng Creche next to Chaneng Primary School starting 9am - 2pm. Bareki ba lalediwa go tla ka makatlamanamane go tla go itseela ka tsebe mabapi le seemo sa mokgatlho; loeto la Goya kgotla tshekelong ko Mafikeng ka di-31March, le report ya dithupa tsa maloba tsa Leruo le Rapetsana ko Mogwase Magistrates Court.

21 February 2016

Royal Bafokeng Nation score own goals with key witness



 Mogwase Magistrates Court was packed to capacity at the trial hearing between Bafokeng ‘tribes’ against Royal Bafokeng Nation (‘RBN’). The trial, which was heard between 08-12 February 2016, was postponed and will now be heard on the 31 March 2016 at North West High Court in Mafikeng for closing arguments.

Mr Rapetsana, a key witness for RBN, testified that the Kgotha-Kgothe (Bafokeng general assembly) is not the highest decision making structure of the RBN, contrary to the RBN chief’s previous submissions. Mr Rapetsana who metaphorically scored a number of magnificent own goals, was grilled in a witness box for a period of four days.

Shimane Phiri, a community activist from Thekwana exclaimed sarcastically: ‘He stole the show for us, our star witness!’

Mr Rapetsana testified that it was not necessary for the Bafokeng Supreme Council or the chief to have consulted with the communities when lodging an application in 2008 at the Mafikeng High Court to have some 61 farms held by the Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development in trust for the Bafokeng tribe, transferred and registered in the name of the RBN. The communities opposed the application and claimed that the chief was not properly authorised; that the chief committed and ought to have consulted with them; more so that the affected land was in dispute as communities claimed the land to be theirs and not RBN’s; and therefore that registration of title deeds should be made in the individual communities’ names and not the RBN’s.

The communities had in the previous week launched a notice with the Court, of their intention to challenge the constitutionality of the RBN’s actions in terms of Rule 16A.

The star witness Mr Rapetsana, was cheered by the Bafokeng ‘tribes’, the communities, when he contradicted and refuted claims by his fellow expert witness, Prof JC Bekker. Prof Bekker had claimed in a witness statement  that he had recently met with Mr Rapetsana, Mr Setshedi and Mr Eric Nkele who informed him that consultation with communities had taken place. Mr Rapetsane denied having met and discussing the case with Prof Bekker.

On a question of whether the Bafokeng Supreme Council, a customary structure, was competent to authorise the chief to lodge the main application, the Judge made a statement in passing that the Supreme Council could possibly confer unto itself certain statutory powers from specific legislation, as long as those powers are not expanded.

The communities claim the Supreme Council is an arbitrary structure; manipulated by the chief; to pass important decisions without quorums, meaningful debate or consultation; and that the Supreme Council have usurped the powers of the statutory Traditional Council, and arguably also that of the Kgotha-Kgothe.


27 January 2016

URGENT NOTICE OF POSPONEMENT OF BAFOKENG COURT HEARING

The Court hearing that was scheduled for the 01-12 February 2016 has been postponed and rescheduled by the Court to start instead on the 08th February 2016 until the 12th February 2016.


The Bafokeng chief is required to prove to the Court if he was properly authorised to lodge an application to have 51 farms claimed by communities registered in his name.

20 January 2016

BAFOKENG LAND BUYERS’ ASSOCIATION GENERAL MEETING: 24 JANUARY 2016, 9am, MOGONO COMMUNITY HALL


BLBA will hold its general meeting this coming Sunday 24 January 2016, 9am at Mogono Community Hall, Luka Village, to consider preparations and developments around their upcoming trial hearing against the Bafokeng chief.

The historic court hearing will take place from 01 February 2016 to 12 February 2016 at the Mogwase Magistrates Court.

Communities are expected to converge to the meeting to also plan for travelling arrangements.

Legal Resources Centre (LRC) will be present to give an update on the case.

22 December 2015

Merafe Pilane set to lead Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela tribe; Mmuthi Pilane recommended to lead Motlhabe village


The Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims in the North West Province released a report today recommending Mr Mmuthi Pilane to be appointed the rightful traditional leader of Motlhabe village.

The report, dated 24th November 2015 was handed-out today to the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela Royal Council, made up of the five clans of Kgamanyane, Tshomankane, Mantrisi, Mzilikasi and Kautlwale.

‘Everyone was expecting the Premier to close this matter today in terms of the Court order. They now say January 2016… we shall be patient’, said Mmuthi Pilane.

The North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is now in contempt of two separate North West High Court orders, each compelling him to make final determinations concerning leadership disputes and claims from the two tribes of Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela and Bapo-ba-Mogale.

Indications are that Mr Merafe Pilane is now set to replace Mr Nyalala Pilane as the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela tribal chief. Merafe’s claim is uncontested and the majority of the Royal families are in support of the claim.

‘We are deeply concerned about the delay since Nyalala has long submitted his resignation letter to the then Premier Thandi Modise’ said a member of the tribe.



-Thusi Rapoo