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

21 December 2015

RELEASE: MAFEREKA REPORT ON TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP DISPUTES AND CLAIMS FOR BAKGATLA COMMUNITIES (MORULENG)


The BLBA has been informed that tomorrow 22 December 2015, at 14:30 at Bakgatla Administration Offices (Moruleng), the Premier of the North West Province, Mr Supra Mahumapelo, will present a determination on the longstanding Mafereka Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims Report.

The Report will focus on the claim lodged by Mr Mmuthi Pilane, who contend that he is the rightful heir to the chieftaincy of Motlhabe Village; and Mr Merafe Pilane who claim to be the rightful senior traditional leader of the Bakgatla ‘tribe’.

Mr Mmuthi Pilane launched a successful bid at the Constitutional Court, granting him in 2012, powers for his community to consider secession from the Bakgatla ‘tribe’. The uncontested Mr Merafe Pilane on the other hand, lodged his claim following alleged resignation by Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, with a letter presented to the then Premier of the North West, Ms Thandi Modise.

The release of the Mafereka Report is prompted also by a Court Order, and planned protests by a number of other North West communities (including Bapo ba Mogale and Baphalane ba Ramokoka) for its release. The Communities contend that there is widespread personal, economic, and political interest on the Report, which will mark changes to mining deals on their platinum-rich lands.

The Report will hopefully mark an end to a sad, long, and debilitating battle between warring factions within the Bakgatlha Traditional Community.

Thusi Rapoo
073 443 5699

07 November 2015

BAFOKENG COMMUNITIES REJECT RBN's PROPOSED LAND POLICY

BLBA held a highly successful and spirited general meeting at Mogono Community Hall in August 2015. Bafokeng Communities attended in numbers to prepare for their upcoming February 01st 2016 trial hearing against 'their' intransigent RBN chief. Communities reaffirmed that the chief was being irresponsible fighting a loosing battle against his own people. Communities are adamant the Bafokeng chief is extravagantly wasteful spending millions of 'our' tribal funds on terrible legal advice.


To test their support for the upcoming trial hearing, the RBN embarked on a strategic road drive in mid October 20015, holding regional gatherings within the Bafokeng communities on a proposed new Bafokeng Land Policy. The proposed Policy seeks to urbanise the Bafokeng land. The proposal seeks further to privatise land by registering title deeds over communities' household stands; and by registering bonds over designated land for mine housing schemes (hostels or flats).


All the five Bafokeng regions went on to reject, with overwhelming disgust, the RBN's proposed Land Policy.


Sources has it that RBN is working hard behind the scenes luring their elderly potential opponents from its various communities, as their potential witnesses at the upcoming trial hearing. Some of the elderly already interviewed by the RBN feel threatened and scared for their lives for speaking the truth against the RBN case.


Clearly the Bafokeng chief remain ill advised to pursue the court matter. Popular opinion among the Bafokeng elderly suggest that whether he wins or fails, the chief only stands to gain more contempt from the Bafokeng communities. And his clandestine actions in preparing for the trial can only make matters worse for him.

17 August 2015

BLBA GENERAL MEETING: 23 AUGUST 2015: 10AM: MOGONO COMMUNITY HALL

The Bafokeng Land Buyers' Association will hold a General Meeting on Sunday 23 August 2015, at 10am at Mogono Community Hall.


The meeting seeks to update land claiming communities within the Bafokeng on developments regarding the ongoing case at the Mafikeng High Court. It is envisaged that the chief's trial will be held in February 2016. The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) will present the update.
The meeting will also advice communities about the new land claims process.


Attendants are adviced to be on time.



08 August 2015

SHOULD THE BAFOKENG CHIEF RESIGN OR FACE EMBARRASSMENT?

The Bafokeng chief is summoned by the Mafikeng High Court to prove that he was properly authorised to lodge an application with the Court to have 61 farms forming the 'Bafokeng tribal land' registered in his name.


A number of villages forming the Bafokeng 'tribe' opposes the chief's claim and contend that the land he claims, should instead be registered in the individual communities' names, and not the Royal Bafokeng Nation's. The case is exactly the same as the one contested in 1907 by the Photsaneng and Thekwana communities against the then Bafokeng chief August Molotlegi Mokgatle and the Minister of Native Affairs at the then Transvaal High Court.


The communities submit in their interlocutory case at Mafikeng that the chief was not properly authorised to lodge the land claim in the first place; that the Bafokeng Supreme Council did not have those powers to authorise the chief to lodge the said land claim; and that the chief did not consult with them contrary to his commitment and resolution made at the Kgotha kgothe meeting of 29 July 2006.

The communities contend that the decision of the Supreme Council, a controversial Bafokeng governance structure which the chief claims authorised him to lodge the land claim, is in fact lower in status to the Kgotha kgothe (itself a controversial structure), and was as such overruled by the decision of the latter superior structure.


In the last Court hearing held in October 2013, Judge Landman questioned the legislative status of the said Bafokeng Supreme Council. The argument in essence is that the Bafokeng could create as many political structures as it deems, but the only governing structure empowered by national and provincial legislation to make decisions for and in all traditional communities (formerly referred to as tribes), is the Traditional Council (an electoral traditional structure established along democratic principles), and not the so called Supreme Council or Kgotha kgothe. The legal or Constitutional question the chief is probably seeking to test is the status and powers of the deemed traditional structures like the Kgotha kgothe vis-a-vis that of the statutory Traditional Council.


'The chief is simply being difficult and wasteful. It is a wild gamble to exploit the communities and use our platinum-rich land to test the Constitution. It is a concern to us, as responsible citizens of this country, as to how much public monies he will commit or already wasted on legal fees, without reprimand, in 'his' expeditious case he knows is devoid of truth. I believe it will be honourable and in his best interest that he resigns as a failed Bafokeng chief, and avoid the embarrassment of losing this case and plunging the 'tribe' further into wilderness. With this kind of attitude, he will certainly do better in the corporate world as a businessman together with his likes, bo-Ramaphosa and them, ' cautions Thusi Rapoo.


'Go lebeletswe gore o tla tsena lepokising la tsheko ngwaga o tlang ka Tlhakole. O tla tsatsankwa ka dipotso go itlhalosa gore o neilwe ke bomang tetla ya go leka go tsaa mafatshe a batho', he said. ( It is expected that the chief will be called into a witness box next year February where he will face questions to explain himself as to who gave him permission for his attempt to grab communities' land).

16 April 2015

It’s a lie, the Mafereka Commission report is not conclusive

The North West Provincial Legislature and the public have been misled to think that Mafereka Commission investigated all 102 traditional leadership claims in the North West Province.

Mr Bagodi Tolo, the Chairperson of the Commission for Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims in the North West Province announced on Tuesday the 14th April 2015 that the Mafereka Commission report, which investigated 102 claims in the North West Province, was inconclusive.

The two-year long investigation on the 102 claims was concluded on the 21 February 2013 and the report handed to the then Premier Thandi Modise in May 2013. The Premier was obliged to make the findings public within two months of receiving the report. Unfortunately, Commissioner Mafereka died in November 2013 after a short illness and his report still kept secret.

Mafereka had investigated high profiled disputes among Baphalane-ba-Ramokoka and Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela traditional communities.

Mr Mmuthi Pilane, whose claim is tied to the land on which Pilanesburg Platinum Mines operate, and who won a Constitutional Court case against the tribal chief Nyalala Pilane, was worried that his claim to chieftaincy, which has to date served before three different Commissions was being shuffled around to protect highly placed mining interests on the land he claims.

Mr Pilane said he was shocked that the consultative meeting with the new Commissioner Molelekeng on Tuesday, appeared to be rehash of the Mafereka investigation.

‘Mafereka conducted a full blown credible investigation on Bakgatla disputes. Only me and Merafe Pilane lodged claims for chieftaincy. My royal family was expecting a report today on that investigation. Instead the Commission is now bringing unknown persons who claim to be royal family to dispute my claim long after the Mafereka investigation was concluded. Tlhabane (the disputed headman) failed to make a legitimate claim at the Mafereka public inquiry. Who is bringing his claim back on board? Somebody is trying to legitimise his faction through a backdoor’ he queried.
Mr Tolo said only a fraction of the Mafereka claims were concluded, and he is apprehensive as to when the outcome of the continued investigation will be presented to the claimants. He indicated that his term of office is ending before the end of the year.