Labour Strike at Bafokeng Administration

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Writes Nagolo

We had a strike at Royal Bafokeng Administration over wage negotiation disagreements on the 2nd to the 3rd of March 2010.



In our engagements with RBA, the management team was led by a consultant called Mr. Moumakwe throughout but was kicked out at the CCMA by the Commissioner knowing his background and the alleged fraud and corruption he committed while working for CCMA previously. At the negotiations, SAMWU demanded 17% increase whilst RBA offered 6% across the board. 2nd mandate from workers was 13%, for employees in Grade A to Grade C. and 6% for Grade D upwards, but RBA moved to 6.5% across the board. 3rd SAMWU workers mandate came up with 11% for workers in terms of the Grade A to C and Grade D upwards 6.5%. RBA offered 9% for employees on Grade A to C and 7% for Grade D upwards.



While still in negotiations, RBA management asked for caucus break, on their return they said their principal mandate is 8% across the board and they can never offer more than that. That is when we reached the deadlock and sought CCMA’s intervention. At the CCMA RBA didn’t want to move on their stand point, as a result we were granted certificate to go on strike. The strike took two days whereby RBA called us to renegotiate and the outcome was that we settled for 8%, that they will allow employees to join SAMWU medical aid scheme, salary increase will be revisited based on the performance of the economy by June 2010 also housing allowance will be looked into by June 2010, RBA will not retrench in the next 12 months, employees with low salaries will be assisted, intimidation and victimization of SAMWU members by managers will stop.

The Inaugration of Kgosi Solly Rammereki Mekgwe of Baphiring of Luka

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It was a historic day for many of the Baphiring community of Luka village, Phokeng, Rustenburg, to have witnessed the once in a life time inauguration of their Kgosi, Solly Rammereki Mekgwe. The ceremony, which coincided with the South African Human rights Day was graced by the presence of Kgosi Mabalane of Mabaalstadt, Kgosi Matlapeng of Molatedi and Kgosi Sefanyetso of Moubana, started at around 10am with a prayer and the hoisting of the Baphiring flag.

Lucas Mekgwe, in introducing guests, explained that Baphiring are an ancient community which was led by a chief when they arrived in the Phokeng-Rustenburg area. That the community actually settled near the present day Impala Platinum mine’s minerals processing plant, they were in fact on their way back home to their brothers and sisters who are now settled near Koster. Their journey was cut short by Paul Kruger who wanted to use them for slave labour in his fields.

Kgosi Mabalane thanked Baphiring for their continued quest for stronger ties with the Baphiring of Mabaalstadt and acknowledged the birth seniority of Baphiring of Luka.

Rakgadi wa Kgosi Mekgwe, Mme Basetsana Monaledi also gave a heartening speech on her undying love and respect for Baphiring. She pleaded and urged the community to love their incumbent Kgosi, and to open their hearts for him when he pays them well wishing visits at their homes. She said the spread of beauty can only be possible when there is love at home.

On behalf of the Rustenburg Local Municipality, Member of the Mayoral Committee, Councillor Olga Chauke promised to urge the powers that be, to declare the grave of Reverend Morrison, the American priest who established the AME church in Luka, and who is buried in the local graveyard (Lotia-Phiring) next to Kgosi ya Baphiring, Kgosi Ramotse Stuurman Mekgwe, as a heritage site.

The inauguration ritual involved the handing of a spear and a shield to the incumbent Kgosi by his rangwane (younger brother to Kgosi’s father). Symbolically, Kgosi would use the spear to attack community enemies and to defend the community using the shield.

In his acceptance speech, Kgosi Mekgwe promised to have an open door policy, and to consult with the community Council on all matters concerning his administration. He thanked the presence of Magosi and wished for stronger working relations amongst them going forward. Kgosi Mekgwe reiterated his commitment towards the community’s restitution claim for its ancestral land which includes Doornspruit 106JQ, Turfontein 262 JQ, Doornspruit 84JQ. Kgosi invited all 17 dikgosana of Kgotla-Kgolo ya Phiring to work together, and promised to launch a challenge that they be enrolled for service allowance (salaries) when serving as headmen. In conclusion, Kgosi wished for peace and rain.

Bame Mokgatlhe, thanked Baphiring for the gracious ceremony, and promised to urge his family, Kgotla ya Kgosing to support Baphiring in their quest for justice and land restitution. He said that there was enough for everyone in the Bafokeng to benefit from the Bafokeng wealth, and that it was improper for Kgosi to rule by himself without consulting with his family and the land buyers. He gave an analogy that when a three feet pot sagged on one leg under the heat of fire, it would eventually fall and all its wealth spilled for no one enjoy. He said that Bafokeng Kgosi and Kgosi Mekgwe himself, as heads of their constituencies, could not rule without the neck (Kgotla ya Kgosing/community council) and the body (being the communities at large).

In closing the ceremony, the former acting mayor of the Rustenburg Local Municipality, Mr. Phistus Sebedi Mekgoe, thanked all for coming, and urged the attendants to clap their hands for the conspicuous absence of the Bafokeng tribal Council who were invited to the ceremony, but never bothered to send an apology for their non-attendance.
The community clapped! The brass band rendered a national anthem, and the ceremony dispersed for festivities.

Mogono is robbed of a gallant, humble servant

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Mogono youth found it strange that the late Tshepo Mputle, a tireless social and community activist, succumbed to a mysterious headache, at the time that the Mogono Community and the Mputle Family are opposing the Royal Bafokeng Nation’s (RBN) court application at the Mafikeng High Court. It is not strange to some, as another senior Councillor pointed out, that Tshepo had recently developed an ‘uncooperative’ tendency within the RBN Council, staging walk outs in some Council meetings he was not happy with.

Tshepo, an elected RBN Councillor for the Northern Region led the most difficult of the four regions, termed the ‘rebels region’. The region comprises of Luka, Mogono, Chaneng, Rasimone and Robega. Rapetsana, Head of Dikgosana in the Bafokeng Council, noted at the funeral, that Tshepo passed away at a time when they were both to embark on a programme to ‘work’ on the region.

The Mogono community remembers Tshepo for his active role in the Kgotla affairs, and for chairing a community Kgotla in around 2005/6 when Richard Spoor consulted with the Kgotla on their land, mining and environmental issues against Bafokeng and Impala mines. Tshepo was among a Kgotla delegation that travelled to the Department of Minerals and Energy’s offices in Klerksdorp to submit an objection by the Kgotla against Impala Platinum mine’s application for their new order mining rights. Tshepo Mputle was actively involved in the preparations for the inauguration of the late Kgosi Mogono, who was also very fond of the young Tshepo’s resilience. Kgosi Mogono passed away (also under mysterious circumstances) after serving only a year in office and having expressed his support for the community’s land restitution.

Following Tshepo’s funeral, Kgotla ya Mogono took a resolution on the 21st February 2010 to challenge the Application in the Mafikeng High Court by the Royal Bafokeng Nation to transfer and register the community’s farms: Klein Doornspruit 108JQ (Mogono) and Hartbeestspruit 88JQ (Melloe) into the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. The community wants the farms transferred and registered in the name of the community.

Tsitsing Community can administer its own land

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Three kraals/families of the Tsitsing community lay claim to Bierfontein 120JQ and Welbekend 117JQ. The families are incensed by the Mafikeng High Court order which granted (if there are no valid objections) transference and registration of the community’s farms in the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. The families claim to have previously stopped one project earmarked for a filling station on their land. They claim the Royal Bafokeng Nation had blessed the Project without consulting with them first on how the community was to benefit from the project.

Phillemon Khunou added that, there has been mining projects on Welbekend by Impala Platinum which the community has not been consulted on. “We want the title transferred and registered in the community name so that we are able to manage our own lands and just like those other communities like Mamerotse and Tantanana who are currently managing their own land through Communal Property Associations’. ‘We want to manage and administer our land for ourselves’, he emphasised. ‘The Bafokeng were initially afforded a fudiciary duty to administer our land for us, and not to benefit from the land and at our exclusion. The community of Tsitsing must be benefiting from their own land, and not the Bafokeng in Phokeng’, Phillemon, having been active in local politics since childhood observed that the recent ‘100 days to the 2010 World Cup’ celebrations were brought to Tsitsing Stadium during the time the Court Case was being heard in Mafikeng. ‘The community was not aware that there was a Court case going on in Mafikeng, they were brought this 100 days celebration event to distract them from seeing the real picture that their land was being transferred’, he fumed.

Photsaneng Land Claim will be finalised

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At a meeting held at Bleskop on the Makgatlha family in Photsaneng instructed their representatives to challenge the Mafikeng High Court application by the Bafokeng Royal Nation to have their land, Klipfontein 300JQ registered and transferred in the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. The family endorsed the submission done by the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association who opposes registration and transference of all the 50 + 11 farms until the claims by all the communities have been resolved. Interestingly, the Gauteng Land Claims Commission, who gazetted the Klipfontein 300JQ community land claim in June 2008 is also opposing the Bafokeng application. The family intends approaching the Land Claims Court to intervene to the slow and uncoorporative service by the Commission in expediting their claim. ‘The Bafokeng, by taking the matter to the Mafikeng High Court is simply applying a delaying legal tactic, distracting progress on the gazetted claim possibly through the Land Claims Court’, says Thusi Rapoo, family representative and organiser of the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association.

‘We will thrash out the case in Mafikeng and continue steadfastly to have the Commissioner and the Land Claims Court to finalise our gazetted claim’, he said assertively.