Land, Mineral Wealth and the Militarisation of the Bafokeng

Posted on

Thokonoko writes

“In time of universal deceit, speaking the truth becomes a revolutionary act”- George Owell.

Corporate dictators are puppet-king makers as our beloved lands are pillaged and poisoned. Racial tensions will rise as exploiters divide to rule as never before in their century long wars. Without access to land or equitable distribution of resources wealth, we lay the foundation for a crime ridden, debt laden society. We must ask ourselves: is this the way? Despite immeasurable wealth, kleptocracies disguised as monarchies ensure a grinding poverty for the majority. South Africa has the greatest disparity between rich and poor with the highest incidence of AIDS, on earth! This is no small co-incidence. It is the ongoing legacy of an unfettered mining industry that cares not for the well being of the many whilst enriching the few.

The militarization of the Bafokeng

Regarding the alleged irregular spending of some R86million by Nial Caroll’s brother, Council instructed that those that were found to be responsible be fired. The Chief came to their defence and ordered that the Council would have to fire him (the Chief) first!
It is reported the Bafokeng Chief bought himself a fighter helicopter worth over R96 million. It is understood that the Bafokeng Council declined the purchase of the helicopter, but the Chief came personally in the following Council meeting and put the resolution to a vote. The majority voted for the purchase. There is word going around that the Bafokeng security company has also been recruiting retired ex soldiers from the then Bophuthatswana army and SADF. The Bafokeng Chief authorised the purchase of more security vehicles, many of which has been seen roving around in increasing numbers around the peace loving communities of Bafokeng. On Monday 22nd March, a recruitment drive was carried around Luka, calling for the unemployed to register at the Bafokeng Plaza for security courses, where after graduates will be trained for crowd control!
The Bafokeng security is led by a Adolph Zietsmann, allegedly an ex Koevoet operative and the mastermind behind the ‘militirisation’ of the Bafokeng. Social activists around Bafokeng communities are worried by the threat made by the Bafokeng Chief in two separate community meetings that he (the Chief) will use force against those who shows dissent to him. Should the Bafokeng community and civil society be worried? Should the national Security and Intelligence be concerned?

Chaneng Community says Title Deed First!

Posted on

On the 23rd January 2010, Chaneng community, which is a stone throw away from the world renowned Sun City Hotel, endorsed their intention to challenge the Mafikeng High Court application by the Bafokeng Royal Nation to have the community’s land, Styldrift 90JQ transferred in the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation.

The community adopted the motto ‘TITLE DEED FIRST, NEGOTIATIONS AFTER! This was taken ‘to stop individuals to run to the Bafokeng and the mines to negotiate for themselves, selling-out the community by using the land claim to threaten the mines and the Bafokeng to enrich themselves’, warned March Motene, the community leader who has been in the forefront of the claim. March was confirmed by the community to be the organiser and coordinator of the land claim. She liaises the community claim with the other land claimants through the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association. She also facilitates communication with the community lawyers and the dissemination of information on the status and process of the claim.

The youth of Chaneng informed the community that it intended marching to the Styldrift project ( a mining project between the Bafokeng Royal Nation and Anglo Platinum) to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with what they described as false promises made by the Bafokeng to the community. ‘They are taking the community for granted’, exclaimed Joseph Mogobe, the community youth leader.

The Inaugration of Kgosi Solly Rammereki Mekgwe of Baphiring of Luka

Posted on

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.