The new Goodhope-Mabule MP, Lotlaamoreng II, says that had they been given an opportunity, members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi would have intervened in the stand-off between the government and Bakgatla kgosi, Kgafela II, in October 2011.
However, before such intervention could happen, then Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake, derecognized Kgafela and the need for such intervention fell away. During this time, Lotlaamoreng was a member of Ntlo ya Dikgosi which Kgafela had shunned seeking as much autonomy from the government system as possible. Explaining this highly unusual development, Mokalake said that the youthful traditional leader had frustrated government efforts to consult and communicate with Kgatleng community on developmental issues that affect the community; abused his powers by ordering headmen in Kgatleng to ignore and frustrate ministers’ efforts in their bid to hold meetings in Kgatleng District; and had incited headmen to be insubordinate and refuse to carry-out lawful orders from ministers. Section 15 of Bogosi Act empowers the Minister of Local Government to take such action.
Interestingly, Lotlaamoreng says that the de-recognition happened on the same day that members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi had been briefed at a closed-door meeting about problems that the government was having with the Bakgatla kgosi. This led them to believe that they were being consulted but they soon realised that was far from being the case.
“We asked to be given time to go to Mochudi and get Kgosi Kgafela’s side of the story – we had heard only one side and on such basis couldn’t make any conclusions. The briefing happened in the morning and in the evening of that same day – while we were still waiting for a response to our request, we learnt through the media that Kgafela was no longer kgosi,” Lotlaamoreng says.
The larger point he makes is that the government doesn’t take traditional leaders seriously even in matters where their input is absolutely necessary. While Ntlo ya Dikgosi has neither legislative nor veto power, it acts as an advisory body to parliament.