Cabinet ministers Peter Siele and Lebonang Mokalake were this week reduced to objects of ridicule by a jeering Mochudi crowd.
Heads bowed and shoulders slouched forward, the two ministers trudged through the scotching sun back to their waiting chauffer driven BMW luxury cars with a crowd singing mocking songs in tow ÔÇô the scheduled kgotla meeting aborted.
The two ministers were scheduled to brief Mochudi residents on government’s development progress and progress made by the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. The pair was also hoping to get feedback from the residents after the address.
The ministers, obviously anticipating a possible disruption to their Kgotla meeting, had mobilized security: uniformed Police Officers, plain clothes Police Officers and a contingent of paramilitary operatives complete with two amour-plated anti-riot trucks.
The ministers seemed determined to brave the swelling crowd who were singing in protest against the planned meeting. Hardly a few minutes after the ministers’ arrival, the crowd erupted into a crescendo of mocking songs which grew even louder after kgosi John Pone and Modise Pilane told the ministers that the meeting could not be held because there was no authority to sanction it.
The two, who were the only royals available to receive the ministers, held brief meeting with the ministers before it was officially announced that the Kgotla meeting had been called off.
After the brief meeting, the two ministers were swallowed by a large crowd of partly singing residents and few spectators. From the songs, it was clear the ministers were not welcome.
“Their behavior has even shocked dikgosi,”said minister Mokalake when asked to comment on the terrible reception they had received.
In a separate interview, Siele said that it was regrettable that the meeting had failed, adding that the residents had missed out on a noble opportunity to exchange ideas with their leaders.
Commenting on behalf of the Bogosi, Kgosi John Pone, who received the ministers and government officials, explained that the meeting could not take place because Kgafela II had instructed that no meeting should take place.
He also indicated that no one was available as is protocol to receive the ministers as Kgafela was away while Bana Sekai had been suspended.
Another royal family member, Modise Pilane, said that although they had received the government officials, they had no authority to sanction the meeting.
He said that they learnt late that the ministers wanted to hold a meeting.