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.

Some are benefiting from the Bafokeng….

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Marakana-

The community of Marakana (Mosenthal) has the strongest evidence that shows that they bought their land Tweedepoort 283JQ to the exclusion of the broader Bafokeng ‘tribe’ and for their own exclusive use, Missionary PH Wenhold states it clearly in his affidavit that the farm was bought by the community which was then under the leadership of Modisakeng, Mogajane Mahuma and Mogoboa. Concerned community members who have approached the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association for assistance, are worried that some members of the community are afraid of coming out in support of the claim. ‘Some are benefiting from Bafokeng while others are simply afraid of witchcraft and dying’ said one of the members.

Will the Zuma administration give us our land back?

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Asks Gash Nape

As committed as ever on their land claim, the Thekwana community converged once more on the 07th February 2010 to give a clear mandate to the representatives to oppose the Mafikeng High Court application by the Bafokeng Royal Nation. The representatives were offered a choice to consult lawyers of repute to challenge the Bafokeng including the Legal Resources Centre. The representatives have since approached the Legal Resources Centre who has officially taken up the matter, and will once more represent the community. The LRC was approached since it represented the community before and is therefore familiar with the community claim. The LRC was also approached for their impeccable record in assisting poor rural communities with their land claims.

We requested the LRC not only to oppose the application in Mafikeng, but also to lodge a counter-claim with the Land Claims Court. We want to see our claim finalised and our land registered and transferred in our community name.

We had hoped that we would have achieved that by now in this year, 2010, It is however clear that there are people working tirelessly day and night and behind closed doors to ensure that our community does not get the land of our forefathers back. They want to continue to reap the mining benefits, mining irresponsibly, while we suffer under terrible living conditions.

The government of President Mandela and President Mbeki have since passed without help. It is now Zuma in office, we await to see what he will do for us. His Minister has been indifferent to our plight so far.