Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Gov’t not in breach of┬áBogosi Act on Matenge’s appointment

Acting Tribal Administration Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Tumelo Seboko, says government is not in contravention of the Bogosi Act in its appointment of Kutlwano Matenge as Headman of Record (Kgosana) for Matenge village in the North East District on a contract basis.

Contrary to Gobe Matenge (Kutlwano’s father)’s view that government erred in appointing his son on a five-year contract basis, Seboko explained that the minister (Peter Siele) approved the appointment on a contract basis on account of Kutlwano’s age. Kutlwano is 61 years old.

Seboko said while Bogosi Act section 23 (1) provides that a Kgosi shall hold office on permanent and pensionable terms, in cases where one is appointed after the attainment of 60 years, the appointment is made on contract in terms of the other laws governing retirement age.

“It depends on the age at appointment. If he is over 60, the appointment is done on contract to facilitate issues of pension or gratuity. It is unfortunate that Matenge (Sr) raised the issue at the installation before seeking clarification from us or the ministry. He should have raised the issue prior to the installation and we would have provided him with the appropriate answers as to why we had appointed his son on contract. It does not mean at the end of the contract Matenge (Jr) will cease to be a Kgosi. This is just an administrative issue”, explained Seboko.

In a no blows barred vote of thanks at the glittering ceremony, Matenge (Sr) lambasted government over the contract appointment maintaining that the community is installing Kutlwano to the position indefinitely.

A former Permanent secretary himself, Matenge (Sr) also took issue with the letter of appointment as it was written by the Permanent Secretary instead of the Minister. It was his views that it was irregular that the appointment letter was written by the PS and secondly that the appointment was on contract.

He also lamented that although the letter had Attorney General’s seal, the oversight was intriguing as under normal procedure the minister is the appointing authority.”Whether┬áthe AG┬ánoticed the irregularity or not I don’t know. The chiefs will have to look at their Act (Bogosi Act). A chief is appointed on┬ápermanent and pensionable terms. Kutlwano has been appointed on a five-year contract. This may call for a renewal not at the end of the contract. We point out that we are installing him indefinitely. The five years doesn’t apply to┬áus”, said Matenge (Sr).

Seboko however maintains that after all the procedures have been followed and the name submitted to the minister, it is the minister himself who approves the name of the person to be appointed a Kgosi. The minister can then delegate his PS or other senior officers in the ministry to write on his behalf.

“The┬áapproval was not taken by the PS. I don’t have the file in front of me but I know that the procedure is that after the minister has approved or rejected the submitted name, he can delegate that the letter be written by a senior officer in his office. I believe this is what happened in this particular case. I do not foresee a situation in which the approval would have been made by the PS. It would certainly be irregular. The minister is vested with powers to delegate,” said Tumelo.

Installing Matenge, Kgosi Thabo Maruje Masunga and North East District Representative at the House of Dikgosi thanked the people of Matenge for the smooth transition as it had become common that events of this nature were usually preceded by tumultuous court battles involving chieftainship disputes.

“This is a new chapter that is opening in Matenge village. We are here to usher Kutlwano as the new chief taking over from his uncle. This is a spiritual appointment. Kutlwano is a blessed chief because he is taking over while his father is alive. This is a blessing” said Maruje adding that Matenge has left his urban life to come and serve his community.

Relying extensively on the bible, Maruje urged Matenge to seek God’s guidance in the discharge of his duties advising him to treat all of his subjects equally and with respect.

He said while Matenge has vast public service experience, it is unfortunate that there are no induction courses for Dikgosi. Maruje further decried that chieftainship is being despised as some peopler regard it as an outdated institution.

“A chief is a tribal leader. Chieftainship is not a child’s play. You must seek the light of God.

God will guide you in the discharge of your duties. From today you are the leader of this village. You should rise up to defend this community. Learn self-respect and treat all your people equally”, said Maruje adding that it would be beneficial if the university┬áoffered courses on customary law for the chiefs.

Accepting his new role, Matenge promised not to fail his community saying his parents are there to guide him. He said his failure would be an indication of lack of proper advice and support adding that he is thankful that he is being enthroned and not self-imposing.

He promised to consult the community in everything he does and that he will resist politics.

Matenge however warned that in as much as he will work cooperatively with politicians and the public service alike, they must deliver on their promises.

“I am not going to allow a situation where I am made to call kgotla meetings where people are told of issues that will not be implemented. I will work for the development of this village selflessly. I will treat everybody equally and in turn accept advise”, he said.

Matenege retired from the civil service at the post of Town Clerk (Francistown City) last year after 38 years of an illustrious career that saw him. He is blessed with three sons.

The ceremony was attended by among others Tati West legislator Charles Tibone,  Court of Appeal judge Justice Isaac Lesetedi as well as Justice John Mosojane (retired), Head of the Francistown High Court Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi as well as Justice Zibani Makhwade.

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