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Boom, Kgafela lets the cat out of the bag

Publishing Date : 27 February, 2018

Author : TEBOGO KGALEMANG

Bakgatla Ba Kgafela (BBK) Paramount Chief, Kgafela Kgafela II has revealed that his relations with the government of Botswana have almost normalised. The controversial Bakgatla Ba Kgafela kgosi on Tuesday professed that differences between him and Government have been settled.


Kgafela was responding to his royal uncle, Kgosi Nyalala John Pilane’s submissions during the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into Bakgatla dealings in Rustenburg on Tuesday. Kgafela had to let the cat out of the bag after Pilane scoffed at him demanding that he (Kgafela) return to Botswana and leave them alone in South Africa. He had challenged Kgafela to come back to Botswana and face his problems with the government of Botswana.


During his evidence in chief on Tuesday, Kgosi Kgafela rebuffed Kgosi Nyalala’s sentiments concerning Botswana before a three panel of Commissioners being Chairperson, Advocate Sesi Baloyi; and members, Advocate Mahumani and Professor Moleleki. Kgafela told the commission that, “Concerning Botswana issues, the trouble that I had in Botswana, of which I have told you that I had problems in Botswana.  I had serious mathata there.  It was my problem as a leader.  It comes with the seat,” he said.


He went on to state that his great grandfather, Molefe had his problems and was banished and that his father also had his own problems. “I had my own problems with the Botswana government.  It is between me and the Botswana government.  It is not relevant to this commission. My problems with the Botswana government, have been solved.  They are almost solved, all of them.  You see, it is because it is Botswana issues.  It is asked in Botswana, you must leave Botswana to Botswana, South Africa to South Africa.  Otherwise we mix things and then we get derailed,” cautioned Kgosi Kgafela.


Kgosi Kgolo further argued before the commission that his uncle was demanding from him documents from Home Affairs concerning his citizenship. “And even then, I have said that issue of Kgosi Kgafela’s citizenship is not relevant to this commission, but in any event, it is a matter between me and Home Affairs.  My citizenship issue is between me and Home Affairs.  And I am a South African by birth,” he averred, adding that it is a birth right which no one can take  away from him. “That is just how it stands.  I have got my South African birth certificate.  I am a citizen and this issue is not relevant.”


Kgosi Kgolo urged the commission to press his uncle to furnish him with the documents he is supposed to give him. The documents he said include among others, bank statements to see how billions of Rands were distributed. It was further Kgafela’s evidence that while he was in Botswana his uncle and his associates were using his name improperly to obtain money from a state owned entity.


He stressed that he as such has a personal interest to see how his name was used to whatever ends.  He also said it was unfortunate that his uncle was asking him to produce bank statement regarding some monies he claims to have been sending to him while he was still in Botswana. He said, his uncle as the depositor of the money as he claims, should be in a position to produce that kind of evidence. “But he is not willing to comply despite the fact that he has long been asked to avail such kind of information and a lot more. He is in contempt. He doesn’t respect anyone. He doesn’t respect the law, including you Commissioners. And I have given up on that aspect.”


Kgosi Kgolo’s sentiments concerning his uncle’s attitude towards the law was shared by one of the Evidence Team Leader, Benny Makola. “The consequences of failure on the part of Kgosi Pilane to produce documents, in fact has resulted in this Commission not being able to conclude at least one critical element which in our respectful submission can be separated from the other terms of reference. There has been a lapse of seven months. We have not been able to do any work and I regret just like Kgosi Kgafela I have also given up on how to receive those documents.”


On his part, Kgosi Pilane who was represented by Moshanti Makgale of Setshedi Makgale & Matlapeng Attorneys told the Commissioners that he has received instructions that Kgosi Kgolo is not a South African citizen by birth and that he is born in the USA. “Kgosi Kgolo came to South Africa and he does not have any identity document that identifies him as a South African.


On that account Commissioner we submit to an extent that there is this order that is standing, he cannot appear before you.” He further said they have brought the documents they had in their possession and that whatever information they haven’t produced was because they could not trace them despite diligent search, it save for the minutes of the meetings that were held in camera. “Some meetings were held in camera, so we cannot avail such information.”


KGAFELA’S TROUBLES WITH THE LAW

Kgafela and 35 other tribes’ men were facing 17 charges of floggings in 2010. Kgafela then fled to RSA in May 2012 leaving his then co-accused to dance to the music alone. He failed to show up at court appearances whereupon the application for the warrant was made by the police. The warrant was handling some of his criminal charges, among them escape from lawful custody and unlawful floggings of members of the public in Kgatleng, which were carried out by his regiments, acting on his instructions.


It was this relocation to RSA that caused a fallout between Kgafela and his uncle, Nyalala Pilane. It is reported that Kgafela had unearthed issues of maladministration and misuse of funds after which he demanded an audit of the morafe books of accounts from Nyalala. To further infuriate Nyalala, Kgafela asked him to step down and vacate the Bogosi in Moruleng to him (Kgafela). At this point Kgafela had decided to stay in South Africa permanently.  The move led to a sequence of disputes which developed to a chain of court cases before the South African courts and also the formation of the current commission termed ‘Commission of inquiry BBK’.


MINISTER TSOGWANE CONFIRMS

In an interview, the Minister for Local Government Slumber Tsogwane on Wednesday confirmed that it was true that Bakgatla Ba Kgafela chieftainship issue has been resolved. He was asked to comment on Kgosikgolo Kgafela’s point that his issues with Botswana government have been solved, and the minister’s immediate response was that, “yeah, he is right.”

But when asked if he meant that Kgafela could now come to Botswana freely, he said, “I don’t know about his issues with other ministries. Akere he had other issues with Kgathi’s ministry, which is Defence. They should speak for themselves. I am only referring to the issue of chieftainship as he had requested that we reinstate Bana Sekai as his representative here. And we did that recently because Sekai’s issues were also ironed out.”

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