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.
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.
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.
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.
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.