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