Bakgatla Paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela and 14 members of his regiment have been summoned to appear before Southern Regional Magistrate Lot Moroka on May 31.
The charges against the Bakgatla leader and his tribesmen were not read out, but it is believed that they are related to several complaints of floggings by the Bakgatla traditional authorities in and around Mochudi.
Reporters and photographers who attended the brief court session were disappointed when the Bakgatla leader and his co accused did not show up in court.
Public floggings by regiments in the Kgatleng District have been widely condemned by members of the public and the case is expected to attract a huge audience.
Amongst the cases which caused the most outrage was the flogging of priests in a church in Mochudi Village.
Kgafela Kgafela has now given all the sheebens up to the end of June to stop operating or risk punishment. Other reports from the village are that churches operating in schools have been told to stop doing so forthwith. This is seen as another issue that is likely to worsen the relationship between the chieftainship and Churches in Kgatleng. This is because churches have for a long time been operating in schools in Mochudi and other villages around the country. This is mainly done by newly formed or poor churches that do not have their own buildings.
The high court in Lobatse recently ruled that Kgafela and his regiments did not have any legal or administrative authority to impose civil or criminal reprimand upon the Family of God Church (FoG) or other affiliates of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB).
The interim ruling followed an urgent application filed by the church before Justice David Newman.
Kgafela was cited as 1st respondent in the matter, his brother Mmusi was cited as the second respondent and the Bakgatla tribe was cited as the 3rd respondent, represented by Kgafela.
Justice Newman said that in banning the Family of God from worshiping in Kgatleng, Kgafela and his tribesmen acted wrongfully, unlawfully and violated the church’s constitutional rights pertaining to worship.