Impala Platinum Mines, a subsidiary of IMPLATS, opened its first mining shafts in around 1968 on land claimed by communities forming the Bafokeng Traditional Community. Under the leadership and authority of the Bafokeng chieftaincy, Implats has since opened more than 18 Shafts surrounding the village of Luka. It is off this land that Implats was dubbed the second highest platinum producer in the world.
Ironically, the abovementioned 20 000 strong village of Luka, has never enjoyed the proceeds from mining development on their land. The immeasurable cost and damage of Impala’s operations on the local environment and the Luka community as a whole is well documented.
It is against this backdrop that the communities of Luka and Maile lodged in February 2014, a formal appeal with the Minister of Mineral Resources against the renewal of Impala’s mining license, due then for expiry in 2018.
Despite above formal appeal and a commitment by the Minister to investigate the grounds of appeal, no investigations were ever conducted, and no further response on the appeal furnished.
AMCU has enjoyed the dominant majority labour union at Impala (Luka). Over 5 000 of AMCU members reside in backyard dwellings rented in Luka village. It is said the ANC would have lost the two wards in Luka in the last Local Government elections had the EFF not given up on pursuing vote-rigging allegations against ANC registered at the time. Luka community, together with AMCU members had voted the ANC out of power in mine-hosting villages forming Bafokeng.
It is no secret that AMCU dominance in mining companies operating on Bafokeng land is despised by local ANC and certain captured senior Bafokeng executives. It is clear AMCU will lose its majority status and membership favour at Impala, and will have many of its members resigning or their jobs unlawfully terminated.
The abovementioned retrenchments are nothing else but an ill-informed political ploy by the ANC and monopoly capital to weaken EFF performance at the next elections.
It would further be interesting to know if Impala’s mining license has been renewed without our community consent, and despite above objections. It would be very interesting to know what the economic projections in Impala’s application for mining license renewal are, and whether Impala was granted a renewal on false promises of economic growth and job creation.
It is our considered view that the current low prices on Platinum Group Metals are manipulated, possibly as a veiled attack on progressive labour forces in this country, and in response to the broader radical transformation agenda unfolding in the country.
We hope the left forces in this country: Communities, CBOs, the EFF, NUMSA and AMCU will find each other in response to these senseless retrenchments, and in ensuring that jobs and affected local economies are saved, and the final demise of imperialist economic terrorism in this country.
Purported RBN Traditional Council response to BLBA motion to remove Bafokeng chief Molotlegi from office
At a successful Sunday 22 July 2018 community Workshop on both Traditional Leadership and Governance, and the Land Expropriation without Compensation debate held at Robega Village next to Sun City, Bafokeng communities endorsed a Bafokeng Land Buyers’ Association (‘BLBA’) petition requesting Bafokeng Royal Family to remove Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi from office as chief of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. The request was served on known senior Bafokeng Royal Family members, and published on BLBA website.
Mr Letlhogonolo Masilo, purportedly writing on behalf of either the Royal Bafokeng Supreme Council or Bafokeng Traditional Council, and on behalf of the Royal Bafokeng Administration, served Mr Thusi Rapoo (BLBA Chief Executive Officer) with two letters responding to the above request for the chief’s removal.
The first letter addressed to Mr Rapoo’s mother and the Rapoo Family, seek a response by the 26th July 2018 confirming if the Rapoo Family is in support of Mr Rapoo’s submissions, tabled at the Mogono Kgotla on the 08 July 2018. Mr Rapoo had at the said Kgotla meeting endorsed BLBA motion for the removal of the chief based on additional grounds peculiar to the Mogono community.
The chief sought at the said meeting, removal of Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development as trustee of the land claimed by the Mogono Community and others. Ownership of Bafokeng land is in dispute before the Courts, and in which Mogono Community seek transfer and registration of the two farms claimed (Klein Doornspruit 108JQ and Hartbeestspruit 88JQ) in its own names and not in the Bafokeng chief’s name.
The chief cast aspersion on the Community to administer its own land by cynically asking the Kgotla: “what are you going to do with the land?” The chief further alleged that the ANC and its Minister were corrupt and could therefore not be entrusted with holding land on behalf of the Bafokeng tribe, as is the case. For this reason further the chief does not support amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa for ‘Land Expropriation without Compensation’.
In response Mr Rapoo lamented that the chief was disingenuous in accusing the ANC of corruption, when he himself was corrupt and was running a corrupt administration. Mr Rapoo reiterated, on a number of grounds, that the chief was not fit to rule as chief of the Bafokeng and should instead resign. Interestingly, other than his known weakness to take criticisms personally, the chief conceded that he made mistakes, and that if asked, he would not mind to resign as he also had ideas and a mind of his own.
In the second letter responding to the published BLBA motion, Masilo records a position allegedly by the Traditional Council against the motion to remove the chief. Masilo states that BLBA has no right, power or permission to make such a request, but that such power to remove or identify a chief is the reserve and prerogative of the Royal Family.
It is not clear if Masilo’s letter is a decision of the Traditional Council, or the Supreme Council or of the Royal Bafokeng Administration. The Royal families have not made any response to BLBA motion.
BLBA indicated it will take further steps to approach the NW Premier’s Office should there be no positive response from the Royal Family.
REMOVAL OF LERUO TSHEKEDI MOLOTLEGI FROM HIS POSITION AS THE CHIEF OF THE BAFOKENG TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY
The Bafokeng Land Buyers’ Association has since 2010, brought to the attention of some members of the Royal Family of the Bafokeng Traditional Community, that the manner in which their son chief Leruo Molotlegi conducts himself and his official duties as the Bafokeng chief, is unbecoming for the position he holds.
Communities expected that, having spent more than 15 years in office as the Bafokeng chief, the chief would have by now gained more understanding and maturity on how the traditional community should be administered or governed in line with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the wishes of Bafokeng communities.
It is on record that the chief has on as many occasions refused counsel of community elders and his Royal Family as prescribed by legislation.
In his recent interlocutory judgment in case 999/08, Judge Landman confirmed the abhorrent position that the chief operates prerogatively at his whim, obstinately against section 27 of the North West Act of 2005.
It has been noted that the Bafokeng chief:
- Refuses to marry, contrary to customary dictate that a chief be married upon his ascension to the position of a chief. Main reasons for this requirement relate to possible future disputes around succession; preservation of the community; peace and security within the community.
- Contrary to custom and his predecessors in office, refuses to consult (meaningfully if at all), with various Makgotla or Families on urgent, confidential and pertinent matters requiring his direct attention.
- Uses communal finances to divide the community.
- Promotes a clandestine culture of secrecy and corruption.
- Disrespects and swears at senior and prominent members of the traditional community.
- Disrespects the rule of (customary) law, and has rendered his Traditional Council redundant.
- Uses his official title and status to engage in wasteful and corrupt commercial activities and transactions; for his own private interest; and against the welfare of the community. Such conduct having cost the community billions of rands to date.
- Has failed to lead the Bafokeng and its structures with requisite diligence, leading to a collapsed traditional administration and fruitless expenditures.
The above synopsis is not exhaustive.
The chief himself submitted his interest to vacate his position as the chief and to focus on his business interests.
It is on the basis of the above shocking background that the communities submitted the humble request to the Royal Family to take the necessary steps:
- to remove Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi as the chief of the Bafokeng Traditional Community with immediate effect;
- to identify a suitable candidate for the position of the Administrator; and
- to notify the Bafokeng community and the Office of the North West Premier of the decision.
The Royal Family is expected to report on the above steps at the next Bafokeng Kgotha-Kgothe meeting. In this regard, BLBA advice that no Kgotha-kgothe resolution is in fact required for the above Royal Family decision. Such decision shall be presented at the Kgotha-kgothe for noting purposes only.
By Zoliswa Gqamane and Othusitse Rapoo
Over 40 young people including leaders of Motlhabe Village Council attended a Community Impact Assessment Workshop at Motlhabe Community Hall conducted by Bafokeng Land Buyer’s Association on the 23rd June 2018. The Workshop considered the topical Land Expropriation without Compensation debate, and how to get youth to be more involved in knowing the history of the land of their forefathers, and how to protect and exercise control over it.
Many traditional communities in the North West Province and elsewhere around the country are concerned that decisions about their land are taken on their behalf by various organs of state, traditional leaders and mining companies without their consent. Such decisions having devastating impacts on their livelihoods.
Mr Ruele took the community through the impugned section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which he indicated already provides for land expropriation without compensation. Assisted by Mr Thusi Rapoo, they explained that section 25(8) is very clear that the State can expropriate land without compensation. The section provides that “no provison of this section may impede the state from taking legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform, in order to redress…..’.
Many private farmowners have been applying subsections 25(2)b (compensation) and 25(3)c (market value) to inflate the value of their farms identified for restitution claims. This willing buyer and willing seller method has frustrated the land reform process in South Africa.
The difficulty has been that the ANC-led government lacked political will to expropriate land without compensation in terms of above section 25(8).
It was further suggested that traditional chiefs be stripped off their Executive powers conferred on them by the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (‘TLGFA’). The community was urged to make submissions in this regard in the ongoing public participation process on the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill (‘TKLB’) that seeks to repeal the TLGFA.
Motlhabe community was thankful to BLBA and the sponsors for the educational Workshop, and felt empowered to exert their rights with more vigour in the coming months. The community indicated that they have been excluded in the ongoing public participation processes on related legislative reforms affecting them.
At a general meeting held on the 16 June 2018 at Tsitsing Village, Bafokeng Land Buyers’ Association resolved to initiate a process to remove Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi from office as chief of the so-called Royal Bafokeng Nation.
The meeting, which was preceded by a march demonstration through the village, was in commemoration of the 1976 June 16 student revolts against the apartheid school curriculum.
Communities expressed great appreciation to Thato Magogodi and the Revolutionary Council in the North West Province for their selfless courageous effort to rid the Province of its heartless corrupt leaders. Communities warned that the raging anger within mine-hosting communities in the Bojanala Platinum District would make the recent Mahikeng burning revolts look like a small sunday picnic.
The communities pledge their support to the urgent dissolution of the ANC NW Provincial Executive Committee under whose leadership the provincial administration collapsed with alarming corrupt practices.
The communities noted that the former Premier and his Executives both in the Provincial Administration and in the ANC, have vested malicious and corrupt interest in the administration of traditional communities in the Province. The Province is highly endowed with minerals. Over 50% of world platinum is produced in the province.
The communities are further dismayed that since the dawn of democracy, and contrary to the spirit of the June 16 student revolt, hereditary chiefs in traditional communities, conferred with unfettered powers to do as they please with communal assets, allow themselves to be used as pawns for political and economic graft.
The communities are concerned that much as corruption in traditional communities within the Bakgatla and Bapo ‘tribes’ has been topical subjects in the media, the blue-eyed boy and darling of corrupt politicians and business, the Bafokeng chief, has by some magic escaped the radar of judicial reprimand and Parliament in this country.
The communities are adamant that the captured Bafokeng chief and ANC leaders cannot be trusted with spearheading the ongoing ‘Marxist’ land reform process. The corrupt and ruthless capitalist leaders, ‘dinwamadi’ as Magogogi calls them, will sell the land to the highest bidder. ‘We need thought leaders and for organisations such as the BLBA to be in the forefront of debates around this question’, Magogodi said.
The communities are enraged by the autocratic and arrogant conduct of the Bafokeng chief to corporatize communal assets without community consent. The collapse and sale of Platinum Stars Football Club is a sour case in point, which shows how communal assets and monies are siphoned off under the pretext of corporatization.
Worse still, full benches in the North West Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein dismissed the chief’s costly and reckless attempt to have 61 farms around Rustenburg registered in his name without proper (community) authorisation.
The communities contend that the Bafokeng as a ‘tribe’ is a colonial-apartheid construct, and that the farms, currently held by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, must rightfully be transferred and registered in their village names. The communities contend that it is them as individual villages forming the Bafokeng ‘tribe’, that bought the farms independently of the small Bafokeng clan and its chief. Having purchased the farms in mid 19th century from the struggling boers, the then independent landowning villages were forced by the British-Boer pact in around 1881 to subject themselves to the Bafokeng ‘chieftaincy’.
It is clear that the captured autocratic chief sought unfettered ownership of the land for his self-economic interest, and for the benefit of irresponsible and unaccountable mining companies.
It is as a result among others that the communities will approach the Royal Family to remove the arrogant captured chief from office with immediate effect, and to identify a suitably qualified Administrator.