Saturday, September 26, 2020

“Mascom tower mounted on private land” – Kgosi Kgafela

The Kgatleng royal family is under the spotlight following reports of vandalism at the Mascom tower located near late Kgosi Linchwe’s residence.

Indications are that it will not be long before some senior members of Bakgatla royal family are interrogated by law enforcement agencies on the extent of their personal involvement.
The tower has been a subject of a public meeting held at the main Kgotla on October 3.

There are also reports that the royal family is worried that the radiation from the tower, which is close to their residence, could be a source of health problems for them in the long run.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Kgosi Kgafela said he has not been involved in anyway.

“The family has asked me to excuse myself on this matter. They say I have spent a whole year on this matter, talking to government officials but with no results to show for it,” he said.

Kgosi Kgafela, however, said ultimately the issue of radiation from the tower is peripheral.

What is central, he said, is for Government Ministers to make a decision on who owned Phuthadikobo, which is Bakgatla’s sacred place.
He said Phuthadikobo is the first place upon which Bakgatla descended as they arrived from South Africa about 100 years ago.

“Does Phuthadikobo belong to Bakgatla royalty or to Mascom?” he asked rhetorically.

Mascom is a cell phone company that has placed its tower on the place.
“That tower has been mounted on a private place. In fact, to get to it, Mascom people literally drive through the Kgosi’s yard,” said Kgafela.
He said he was planning to close the private road that leads to the tower with a gate.

He said he was worried that in mounting the tower, the telecommunications regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority, and Mascom failed to consult with Bakgatla.

“Consultation is a statutory obligation. A failure to consult is an offence under the Environmental Impact Assessment Act,” said Kgafela.
He said he has tried in vain to get the authorities to come and address Bakgatla on the matter.

“It seems there is a deliberate move not to go to the people about these consultations,” he said.

Police are likely to interrogate some members of the royal family suspected of involvement in fiddling with the Mascom tower, The Telegraph has learnt.

Speaking this week, the Officer Commanding, Senior Superintendent Seabo Maboka, appealed to the members of the public to assist them with information that could lead to the arrest of the culprits who vandalised the tower.
He said the estimated cost of the vandalism is over P1 million.
“That was an act of sabotage,” he said.

He said once these culprits are nailed they are likely to be charged with sabotage.

Minister of Communications Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, was quoted on Btv news Monday night, saying there was no proof that the tower could have been responsible for emitting radiation that could kill a person.
Her Ministry has also released a statement to that effect, which has, however, been rebutted by an official spokesperson of Bakgatla.

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