Dumela Phokeng, another Bafokeng consultative farce

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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.

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