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.

Mokgatle Family Lodges their Claim

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The descendants of Petrus Mokgatle, have instructed lawyers to oppose the Royal Bafokeng Nation’s application in the Mafikeng High Court, Case no 999/08 in which case the RBN seeks to transfer the family’s farm Zanddrift 82JQ into its name. The family is opposed to such transference. The 1906 Lagden Commission report shows evidence given by Petrus Mokgatle himself, testifying that he bought the farm for himself.

Status on the Land Claim Process

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On the 10th December 2009, the Judge at the Mafikeng High Court ordered that all the communities listed in this newsletter including the Setuke Family, the Mputle Family and the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association, submit to the Court before the 26th February 2010, their application to be accepted as intervening parties and to show cause as to why their application should be accepted by the Court. By agreement, the deadline of the 26th February was extended to the 26th March 2010.

The Legal Resources Centre, acting for the Bafokeng Land Buyers Association and some of the abovementioned communities is expected to submit affidavits to oppose the Bafokeng application.
Following the application by the intervening parties (i.e the Association and others), a ruling should be given shortly as to who will be accepted as intervening parties to the litigation on the matter.

Tshasa

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Thekwana and Photsaneng Land Claims

By Gash Nape

In 1906, our forefathers, the buyers of the farm in which we reside here in Thekwana(Turfontein 302JQ) today, lodged a land claim with the then Transvaal High Court. They were later joined by the claimants from our neighbouring Photsaneng on the farm Klipfontein 300JQ.

The Court decided to hear the two claims together, as their merits were similar.

In the end, the Court held that a section of a tribe could not hold title on land separate from the tribe.

It is almost 103years since our forefarthers fought for their right to have the land they bought back in the 1870s registered in their names. On Thursday the 10th December 2009, the Mafikeng High Court will hear again the same matter.

The Royal Bafokeng Nation has requested the Court to order the Minister to register our farms, which are still held by the Minister, in the name of the ’Royal Bafokeng Nation’. We and other sections of the tribe within the Bafokeng are opposing that the farms be registered in the names of the Royal Bafokeng Nation but instead, they should be registered in the name of the original buyers. The very same argument that our forefathers argued in 1906.

Last year, Klipfontein 300JQ was gazetted after the Land Claims Commission found the Photsaneng claim to be valid. We at Thekwana were promised by the Commission last year that our claim will also be gazetted as it is similar to that of Photsaneng. In fact the Minister opposed an Application by the Bafokeng last year in High Court when the Bafokeng wanted to transfer the farms. The Minister is a different person this year . We hope that since the decision of the Court in 1908 was based on racially discriminatory laws of that time, which made it impossible for our forefathers to have our lands registered in our names, it is possible today in our democratic, constitutional state that such transference and registration as we wish take place.

We will oppose and contest the Bafokeng application until we have the land of our forefathers, our land, back. We will not be apologetic for that.

Baphiring in Luka to hold a public demostration

Baphiring in Luka village will embark on a public demonstration, picketing at the entrance of Luka Village, at seven in the morning or five in the evening, Wednesday 09th December 2009—writes Lucas Mekgwe.

Baphiring are one of the three villages within the Bafokeng ‘tribe’ who formerly lodged a land claim back in 1998. Baphiring have appointed a firm of lawyers, Gillfillan du Plessis to represent them in opposing transference and registration of their farms into the Royal Bafokeng Nation. Baphiring feels insulted by the manner in which Government has treated them on this matter, with different regimes in the ANC-led Government always preferring to work with the rich and mighty Bafokeng than with the meek and poor rural community who wants to assert and entrench their constitutional right to land.

Chaneng Community Up in Arms

Bachana of the rural Chaneng Village, a stone throw away from the international resort, Sun City, are furious about what they describe as ‘broad day land robbery’ – writes Chaneng correspondent.

Written evidence is available that shows that the farm Styldrift 90JQ, on which the Chaneng Community resides, was privately bought by five ‘natives’ separate from the larger Bafokeng ‘tribe’.

The Community is infuriated by the manner in which mining rights on their land have been expropriated. Anglo Platinum has entered in mining deals with the Bafokeng tribal authority without due regard to the land buyers. The latest insult is the attempt by the Bafokeng tribal authority to have the High Court Order to the effect that the farm Styldrift 90JQ be registered in the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation instead of the original buyers. The Community asserts that they have always been ready and capable of administering their own title on land. The land claimants are working closely with Bafokeng Land Owners Association, which is a body of land claiming communities within the Bafokeng, The Association has recently exposed, through public submissions on the TLGF Bill, the historic coverup by the Bafokeng on private land purchases by indigenous communities forming the Bafokeng ‘tribe’. The Community vows to expose injustices they suffer under Bafokeng and Anglo.

Mogono fights the Bafokeng for their land

Mogono Community has always been fighting battles in protection of their lands, Haartbeestspruit 88 JQ (Melloe) and Klein Doornspruit 108JQ (Mogono).

Between the years 1940 to 1950, the community destroyed invader settlements on their farm Melloe. The settlers are believed to have been the followers of a certain Geni. The invading settlers requested protection and assistance from the Bafokeng Tribal Authority, which they were afforded. In the end both the tribal authority and Geni lost, and the settlers relocated to settle on the nearby farm Rietspruit. In a recent fight, a certain Martin Diale wanted to plough on Melloe without permission by the Mogono Community. He was summoned to the Community Council (Lekgotla) and was ordered to vacate the farm with immediate effect. He opened a case against the Community and lost.

On Thursday the 10th December 2009, the Community will engage again, this time against the Bafokeng Tribal Authority aka Royal Bafokeng Nation at the Mafikeng High Court against transfer of their farms into Bafokeng’s RBN.

Marakana Community says enough is enough!

Some members of the Marakana community who have been in contact with the Bafokeng Private Land Owners Association have joined forces to stop the Mafikeng High Court’s transference of their farm Tweedepoort 283JQ to the Royal Bafokeng Nation.

The members rely on the affidavit written long ago in 1904 by Missionary PH Wenhold that the farm was bought for the community. At the time of purchase the community was under the leadership of Mahuma, Mogobodia and Modisakeng.

The community members claim that they have been neglected by the Bafokeng for many years, with social developments in Bafokeng mainly earmarked for Phokeng and Luka villages. Members wants the court to rule once and for good on their land title.

Why are Bafokeng land buyers angry?

On the 22 October 2009, the High Court of Mafikeng, ordered in Case no. 999/08 that:

1. A rule nisi is issued calling upon any interested person (other than the Minister and the Registrar of Deeds who do not oppose the Application) to appear in court on the 10th December 2009 at 10h00 to show cause why a final order should not be granted in the following terms:

1.1 It is declared that the properties set out in Annexure A to the Notice of Motion are registered in the name of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, who is accordingly a registered owner thereof.

What this means is that any person who is against the registration of the farms into the Royal Bafokeng Nation’s name should appear before the judge on the 10th December 2009 at 10am and to request the Judge to set aside the Application by the Bafokeng Tribal Authority as represented by Lerou Molotlegi,

The implication is that should there be no one appearing to contest the transference, the Court will order that all the listed farms be transferred and registered under the Royal Bafokeng Nation.

One of the problems that have been raised with such transference is that the Royal Bafokeng Nation’s administration itself may not be a democratic institution and it is not representative of all the bona fide members of the ’tribe’, as a result, everything happening within the Bafokeng will be controlled by anyone of Semena or Magosi or Lerou.

A major problem is that the three could themselves be controlled by certain powerful people or companies who are not members of the ‘tribe’ and who will either steal, misuse Bafokeng property or use the Bafokeng for a certain political agenda, detrimental to the South African constitutional state.

The present outcry is that the Bafokeng is being used by the mining companies who are looting the platinum wealth beneath their lands, this with the support of unscrupulous government officials and politicians.

Travel Arrangements to Mafikeng

Four buses have been arranged to ferry people to the High Court on Thursday the 10th December 2009.

The buses will depart from Game at 6am. Any person wishing to go to Mafikeng to see and hear this important historic Court appearance for him/her-self, should sms or contact Mr. Nape on 0731988634.

A light meal will be served and people must bring water bottles for themselves. Picketing outside the Court will start at around 8:30am. By 9:45am people will be expected to be seated inside the Court. The Court proceedings will commence at exactly 10am.

A number of t-shirts will be given to the demonstrators for ease of identification. The media will be present and people will be expected to be behave in a peaceful and responsible manner.

Those who will be traveling in their own cars, and wishing to join the others at Mafikeng, are requested to contact Michael Nape for support.

The Court proceedings themselves are not expected to take more than two hours. Departure from Mafikeng will be at 1pm.


In the Next Edition

Tshasa is a publication of Bafokeng Land Buyers Association (“the Association”). This newsletter is expected to carry news from all the communities forming the Bafokeng. It is the voice of the voiceless people of Bafokeng.

The newsletter has a sister publication which can be found online at http://www.bafokeng-communities.blogspot.com.

Anyone can send a story either directly on the blog or by email to bafokengcommunities@gmail.com.

Arrangemets are currently being made to avail the newsletters at strategic points where supporters and members of the public will be expected to buy a copy for R1. The money will be used to cover printing and distribution costs.

People are encouraged to send in stories happening in their areas. It is belived that every village has a story to tell. Some say there is a cover-up to expose. Some of the cover-ups have been exposed through blogs such as the Rustenburg Monitor.

A death, a marriage, a birthday party, a general meeting, an announcement, mining impact, pollution, job advertisement, anything, you can have it published here.

The newsletter will accept donations to print at least 4000 copies to cover all the areas per month on an A3 paper. The total minimum cost is a mere R1 500.00.

You can pledge by directly settling the printers’ invoice for the print, a copy of which will be sent to you before publication!

How chief August Mokgatlhe registered communities’ title deeds in 1906

At the time the title deeds were registered in 1906, many chiefs (then called kaffir kapteins), were being used by the then colonial regimes for expediency. If whites wanted slave labour, they would simply consult with the kaffir kaptein. When government wanted to collect taxes, they would go to the kaffir kaptein. When the military wanted additional manpower for their frontline combats in a battle, they would use kaffirs supplied by the kaffir kapteins.

When Mokgatlhe Mokgatlhe (‘Mokgatlhe’) facilitated the purchase of land for natives around Rustenburg between the years 1871 and 1895, he did not display any malicious intentions to rip-off the land buyers. It was Mokgatlhe’s grandson, August Mokgatlhe who started the furore. It was during his reign in the years between 1897 and 1906 that he plotted to register all the farms, bought privately by sections of the ‘tribe’, in his name.

The bulk registration of the community’s farms in 1906, in trust for August Mokgatlhe, were on the one end out of expediency for the then colonial government to work with one obedient ‘kaffir kaptein’ August Mokgatlhe, instead of the many leaders (‘petty chiefs’) in the area. On the other end, the family of Missionary JHC Penzhorn (‘Penzhorn’) went through an ordeal after the Missionary passed on. Faced with huge challenges on estate duties and poll taxes, the executrix, Penzhorns’ wife, Henrietta, made a simple choice to handover all the title deeds, most probably with the accompanying buyers’ lists to August Mokgatlhe. It is alleged that Mokgatlhe promised to pay off all debts on the farms on condition that Henrietta signed a declaration to the effect that the farms were bought by Penzhorn FOR Mokgatlhe instead of for the various sections of the ‘tribe’. At the same time, the Missionary P.H. Wenhold refused to be coerced in making such a false, expedient declaration.

Who is this Bafokeng Land Buyers Association?

The Bafokeng Land Buyers Association (“the Association”) is representative body of the descendants of the original buyers of private farms that forms over fifty percent of the current geographic area of the Bafokeng Tribal Lands, located around the town of Rustenburg, North West Province.

The Association asserts that the racist colonial laws of the late 19th and 20th centuries did not allow black people or groups of black people to buy and register farms in their individual capacities.

Title to their farms is currently held by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform in trust for Leruo Molotlegi and the Bafokeng Tribe.

The Association seeks to assist all persons in asserting their land and economic rights within the Bafokeng in particular and Rustenburg in general.