Done and dusted: The Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Commission

27 Aug 2018

Mahatma Ghandi once said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.

Even in exile, Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II, must be having the last laugh at Tshetlha ya Dikgwa, who is now in a confused and desperate state. A spoilt megalomaniac who just can’t let go and can’t live without power.

Elsewhere in RSA in making his closing remarks at the just ended Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Commission in Rustenburg, RSA, this is just how one can sum up Kgosi Nyalala John Pilane’s final submissions. 

 “No amount of design could sweeten his lips with honey to convince the esteemed judges of the “Maluleka Commission” that he is indeed Kgosi in Moruleng, let alone the claims submitted by Merafe Ramono the eldest son of Kgosi Tidimane.

In his closing submissions Kgosi Nyalala stated that Bogosi in Moruleng is not hereditary and that his seniors are in Mochudi as it has always been. However, he fell short of saying his was just an attempt to secede from Mochudi.

It is important to note dear reader that even some members of the Traditional Council noticeably Thabo Marcus Diphoko a.k.a Hitler and Lebogang Phalafala Maname stated in their prayers at the commission that they would welcome the commission’s recommendation that Kgosi Nyalala and his cabal get life sentences at Kgosi Mampuru prison; that they will not rest until Nyalala goes to jail.

Lebogang Phalafala Maname another council member gave an account on how he has been living in fear as he continuously got threats that should he continue in writing emails requesting to be furnished with the financial statements of Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Investment Holdings he will be sidelined and sabotaged.

Even the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Traditional Council (BBKTA) Chairperson Kobedi Pilane lashed out the legal team representing the council, especially on the issue regarding the traditional leadership held in Hartbeespoort Dam in 2012.

Whilst the commission’s report is still being awaited, it is important to note that there is evidence submitted by Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela, some members of the traditional council, former Chief Financial Officer Mr Zitha Dube, financial expert George Papadakis engaged by Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA) and others against Kgosi Nyalala are damning.

By now LAMOSA must have already made applications to NPA and to CONCOURT against Nyalala. The events at the commission demonstrated that they want him more than yesterday and to see him have his day in Court. It would be a miracle if Nyalala does not spend his first Xmas at Sun City Prison if not Kgosi Mampuru prison by the end of the year. Only a miracle can safe him.

On being asked by the Commissioners on the meeting that they held as the decedents of Ramono at his father’s house (Bogopa) on the 14th April 2013 at 14hours, why they held it and as to whether he was part of the consensus that agreed that Merafhe Ramono must take over as Kgosi. Kgosi Nyalala responded in the affirmative.

On being asked about the link between Mochudi and Moruleng as a matter of tradition and custom, Kgosi Nyalala stated that Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela was his senior. He went further by stating that when Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela came to South Africa in 2012, he imposed his decisions.

On being asked as to whether Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela was wrong in telling him that there is no royal family in Moruleng, Kgosi Nyalala resorted to using the new South Africa Constitution as an excuse and submitted claims that Kgosi Kgolo physically removed him from his office. Thus being dishonest and not telling the commission the truth that he had written a letter of retirement in 2012 as well as forgetting that he was appointed by Kgosi Linchwe II as Kgosi in Moruleng in 1996, surpassing his elder brother Kautlwale Pilane.

With respect to the royal council, Advocate A.K Mahumani fully stated it is a bogus structure that duplicates the work of traditional council and is not even recognized by the North West Act as well as the National Legislature. This royal council is made up of some close family members of Kgosi Nyalala and some busy bodies whom case number 582 prohibits them and warned them that “ THEY MUST NEVER” call themselves royal family and now that they are leaving in the world of milk and honey have become turned coats, sheep’s in a wool skin. They are now claiming some royalty, some fake status as Big Kahunas.

For his part, in making his final submissions to the Commission Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela addressed the terms of reference which are very central in trying to assist the Commission. Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela gave a detailed account on the role of The Paramount Chief of Bakgatla ordinarily based in Botswana as well as a detailed account on the role and functions of the paramount Chiefs, his ascent to the throne as the apex leader of the whole tribe wherever based, whether Botswana or South Africa in accordance with the fixed procedure of tradition. He rules over the tribe in both Botswana and South Africa. He stated that, this law is set out in judgments of South African courts, including the Constitutional Court. It is settled law.

Accordingly whenever issues arise within the tribe, either in Botswana or South Africa,, the tribe may call upon the Paramount Chief in Botswana to exercise his traditional powers in their favour by performing his duties. He gave an example of Kgosi Linchwe II when there were problems in South Africa he was called upon to come and deal with problems concerning Kgosi Tidimane, and the history of that is recorded in the judgment of Chief Pilane v Chief Linchwe reported in 1995 (4) SA 636.

In 2008 to 2016 the same happened, where the tribe in South Africa called upon the Paramount Chief in Botswana, Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela II, to exercise his powers to depose the regent, Kgosi Nyalala John Pilane, of his duties as Kgosi because the latter violates the tribe’s human rights, and he refuses to account.  Members of the tribe visited the Paramount Chief in Botswana in June/July 2008 to demand that he should attend to South African issues and depose Kgosi Nyalala Pilane.

Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela further stated that they have reported crimes which are taking place by the Traditional Council and its leadership to Hawks and to various courts in SA litigating against those who oppress the tribe.  

Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela also said that the “The powers and procedure, if any, to appoint senior traditional leader of Bakgatla in Moruleng have been answered by the judgments of the South African courts. Those judgments are the ones on the matter between Kgosi Tidimane and Kgosi Linchwe, and another matter between Kgosi Nyalala John Molefe Pilane and the Traditional Council v Mpule Pheto and others as well as the famous case 582, which we have been harping on throughout this commission.  It states the law quite clearly and the gist of such law is”

“The Paramount Chief in Botswana appoints a person of his choice to rule over the tribe in South Africa on his behalf.  These are prerogative powers bestowed upon the Paramount Chief by tradition and law, as stated in the court judgments and as stated in tradition. In 1996 when Nyalala was appointed by Kgosi Linchwe II he was part of this law and even the judgment of Kgosi Tidimane. Kgosi Nyalala Pilane was there. He knows this tradition. There is therefore no dispute about that the Paramount Chief appoints and disappoints the representative in South Africa. The evidence of which is Kgosi Pilane’s letter of retirement and Kgafela’s acceptance of that letter and the history of events leading to those exchanges of correspondence”

It is clear from the submissions made by Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela II that Kgosi Nyalala ceased to be a Kgosi of Bakgatla when he retired and Kgosi Kgolo’s acceptance of his retirement. So from a perspective of custom it is done and dusted as his letter of retirement is valid today as it was in 2012.

Kgosi Kgolo brought it to the attention of the commission that when you ask Kgosi Pilane under what law does he proceed as Kgosi he says it is under statute.  He is a Kgosi under statute.  Under the Premier’s certificate his authority derives from the Premier’s certificate and not from custom because in terms of custom they finished with that issue in 2012 as well as the record of which is in the 1994 resolution of Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela Tribal Community taken on Sunday, 24 April 1994.

Once the Commission Report comes out, and favours Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela, and his tribe, the best befitting present to him would be 10th year celebration fit or a King. Preparations for the 10th anniversary should have long started with every one taking part.

As for Tshetlha he owes the Bakgatla King an apology for having gone to his Kgotla in the year 2012 in his absence and having had a night vigil distributing soup and fat-cakes.

*Thabo Lucas Seleke writes from Seleme Farm, Rasesa