Outraged after being barred from addressing Kgotla meetings in Kgatleng, minister Lebonamang Mokalake has withdrawn recognition of Bakgatla paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela II as Kgosi.
By notice made in the Government’s extra ordinary gazette, the Minister has derecognized Kgafela as Bakgatla’s Kgosi.
He said that he was still waiting to talk to President Ian Khama.
This means that within government circles, Kgafela does not exist.
The minister is empowered to withdraw recognition according to the Bogosi Act if he feels it is in the public interest to do so.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard earlier, Kgafela said that the law provides for a hearing before a decision is taken to de-recognise a Kgosi.
“I do not need the recognition,” Kgafela said, adding that the decision to derecognize him is inconsequential.
He said that he is not a government employee and was not even drawing a salary from government.
“I have many responsibilities and my work is ongoing,” he said.
In a brief interview with the Sunday Standard, minister Mokalake would not reveal whom government intends to recognise as a replacement to Kgafela.
In a statement released by Mokalake’s office, Kgafela’s decision to bar ministers from addressing Kgotla meetings is denying Bakgatla the opportunity to interact with government officials to get first-hand information on government programmes.
Kgafela II is also accused of writing a number of abusive letters to public officers and using abusive language against the national leadership. He is also accused of frustrating government’s development efforts.
Mokalake says besides inciting Dikgosana to disobey government, Kgafela has abused his powers by ‘ordering Dikgosana in Kgatleng to ignore and frustrate Ministers’ efforts in their bid to hold meetings in Kgatleng District’.
“In a democratic set-up where the rule of law has to be respected by everybody, we cannot as Government allow this situation to continue. As a result, I have taken a decision to invoke the provisions of Section 15 of the Bogosi Act, Chapter 41:01, in the public interest, to de-recognise Kgosi Kgafela II with immediate effect. Effectively, Kgafela II shall henceforth neither exercise nor perform any powers official duties relating to tribal administration structures in the Kgatleng District. All Dikgosana in the Kgatleng District are reminded to respect this decision as failure to do so will be a contravention of the law on their part, resulting in similar action being taken against them,” minister Mokalake said on Friday.