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Kgafela’s sweeping powers confirmed

Kgosi Kgafela II of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela’s marathon battle against Kgosi Nyalala Pilane in Moruleng, South Africa has finally come to an end; and the former is punching his fists in the air as a sign of ‘victory’.

The commission established to investigate challenges engulfing the Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela released a report of findings and recommendations which have been blessed by the Premier of North West. In its report the Commission writes that, “On the role of the paramount chief, the power and procedure to appoint a Kgosi, the correct relationship between Kgafela Kgafela II and Kgosi in Moruleng under the Constitution; and the role of the 32 villages in the appointment of Kgosi, we find that according to custom and tradition, Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela –  The title “Paramount Chief” is used interchangeable with Kgosi e Kgolo” and “Kgosikgolo”, in present day, the title “Kgosikgolo” is commonly used.”

The commission concludes that both the communities and the royal family of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela in Mochudi and Moruleng have historically recognized the institution of Kgosikgolo with jurisdiction in Mochudi and Moruleng. “Both the communities and the royal family in Mochudi and Moruleng have historically recognized the seniority of Kgosikgolo to Kgosi in Mochudi and Moruleng. Kgosikgolo selects the Kgosi in Mochudi, Botswana and in Moruleng, Saulpoort. He has the power to remove the Kgosi.”

Both the communities and the royal family in Mochudi and Moruleng have historically recognized the power of Kgosikgolo to select a Kgosi for each of the two communities. There is no prescribed procedure for the selection of a Kgosi in Moruleng. Kgosikgolo may, at his discretion, consult members of the royal family and or other persons as he may determine.

According to the findings of the Commission, “A Kgosi may only be removed in circumstances provided for in sec 14 of the NW Act. If Kgosikgolo wishes to remove Kgosi from office, he can only do so in accordance with section 14 (1). Kgosikgolo plays no role in the administration of the affairs of the community in both Mochudi and Moruleng. The administration of both communities is the province of the Kgosi in both communities.”

The report emphasizes that in Moruleng, Kgosikgolo becomes involved with administrative matters only upon the invitation of the Kgosi, the Royal Family or the community. He does not, of his own accord, become involved in matters that fall within the province of the Kgosi.
“Kgosikgolo has no legal standing to be involved in the discharge of the functions of the Kgosi in terms of the NW Act.

As the senior leader in terms of custom and tradition, he may act at the request of the community, but in doing so, may not assume the functions reserved for Kgosi by the NW Act and the Framework Act. Any involvement in matters which fall within the province of the Kgosi must be with the consent or acquiescence of the Kgosi, provided that it does not result in a degration of the powers and functions of the Kgosi,” reads the report.

According to the report, the NW Act recognizes the State’s duty to “respect, protect and promote the institution of traditional leadership in accordance with the dictates of democracy in South Africa”. “BBK in Moruleng have historically elected to be governed by a system that recognizes the institution of Kgosikgolo, his status as a senior Kgosi and his role to select a Kgosi. The State has a duty to uphold this choice of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela of Moruleng. This does not offend the Constitution and is consistent with the constitutional recognition of protection of customary law and its leadership structures.”  

The report by the Premier also points out that the 32 villages in Moruleng do not play any role in selecting or officiating the appointment of the Kgosi in Moruleng. Addressing the merits and demerits of Mr Merafhe Ramono’s claim to chieftainship in Moruleng, the commission established that “historically, Bogosi in Moruleng has not been hereditary. Kgosikgolon in Mochudi selected the Kgosi in Moruleng. This was the case with Kgosi Ramono I, selected by Kgosi Linchwe I; and was the case with Kgosi Tidimane, selected by Kgosi Molefi I. it was also the case with current Kgosi Pilane who was selected by Kgosi Linchwe II.” The report notes that all dikgosi in Moruleng were selected from the royal family.

The report further notes, “the rightful heir to Bogosi in Moruleng would have been whoever Kgosikgolo selected in accordance with practice and custom at the time. We are therefore unable to identify the person that Kgosikgolo would have identified “had Kgosi Tidimane not acted in the manner that he did” of seeking to appoint his eldest son Merafe Ramono.”  The report concludes that Merafe Ramono has no rightful or natural claim to bogosi by virtue of the fact that he is the eldest son of Kgosi Tidimane.

Further enunciating on the role of the kgosi in Moruleng the report notes that Kgosi Pilane is singularly involved with commercial activities conducted on behalf of or in the name of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela. This includes financial matters related to or arising from transactions with third parties. “Of members of the Traditional Council, Kgosi Pilane has chosen to involve only Mr Kagiso Pilane, his nephew, in matters relating to commercial transactions with third parties,” reads the report.

It states that Kgosi Pilane does not meaningfully consult with or seek the approval of the community in transactions with third parties, including application of monies deriving from transactions with third parties. Kgosi Pilane has also established or authorized the establishment of a web of companies to conduct business on behalf of or in the name of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela, persons involved in the companies only report to Kgosi Pilane. Kgosi Pilane does not report or account to the Traditional Council about the activities of the companies; neither does he report or account to the community, says the report.

According to the report filed with the Premier and approved by the same office, Kgosi Pilane has failed to take any steps to resolve complaints of financial maladministration against him. “Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela have, under the leadership of Kgosi Pilane, concluded significant commercial transactions relating to their natural resources, the minerals in particular. From these, they earned significant income and hold assets with great financial value.”  

However it was established that the 32 villages have no meaningful involvement in decisions to acquire interests or to invest in commercial entities. “Decisions to acquire and to invest are primarily made by Kgosi Pilane. It was also established that none of the income earned from significant transactions with third parties has been paid into the account administered by government as prescribed by sec 30 of the NW Act.”

It has been revealed further that Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela have not been granted authorization to operate a trust account  and to pay into such an account monies earned from transactions with third parties as prescribed by the Act. It has emerged that Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela invested money in excess of R900 million without seeking or being granted authorization by the Premier to invest surplus funds as required by the NW Act. Furthermore the accounts and the financial statements of Bakgatla Ba Ga Kgafela have never been audited by the Auditor General as prescribed by the Act.

The report by the commission has recommended a forensic investigation to conduct a comprehensive investigation of transactions and the financial affairs of the Traditional Council and its companies. It has also recommended that the Premier use his powers to appoint a person to manage the affairs of the Traditional Council.

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Bangwato regent speaks ‘respect for Dikgosi’

23rd May 2022
Bangwato

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution held a meeting in Serowe this week. The meeting was to accord Bangwato, just like other tribes, a platform to give their opinions, contributions and what they think is the horse power and limitations of the current Constitution of Botswana.

Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Serogola Seretse said, he is of the understanding that the Commission has not come for anything apart from getting their opinions on how things could be made better. His contribution was that he solely knows of only two social positions in the world; Dikgosi and Pastors. He said other positions are just benedictions. He further urged that, Batswana should respect God’s ordained protocols such as Dikgosi and Pastors.

Seretse pointed out the importance of acknowledging and appreciating Dikgosi as nation builders. He cautioned and warned that, the Commission should ensure that their dealing with Dikgosi is harmonious. He called for an amendment to be made on the ‘National Order of Precedence’ noting that Dikgosi are put at number 11, but should at least be taken a little higher to number 7.

One resident, Tshepo Moloi while giving his contribution said there must be provisions of Social Justice that ensure equal distribution of resources to all citizens. He said this provision should entail an obligation that all citizen have equal opportunities to different Government Initiatives. Moloi substantiated that, all ‘Presidential Commissions’ be engraved on the Constitution

Alfred Thogolwane who is as well a resident of the biggest village in the Central District, pointed out the need for preservation of the country and resources thereof, saying “it must dawn onto all that, the calabash that fetches water for the family cannot fixed once its broken.”  Another resident, Keikantsemang Sebedi advocated for Polygamous marriage, saying that men should marry as many wives as they please. She said there is no need for any socioeconomic assessment done on men who wish to marry more than one wife.

She advised that, the country should benchmark from the Zezuru culture that does it, with no complexities. On the other hand, Sebedi said that, there must be considerations done on the Old Age Pension. She said people who earned P4000 should not receive the old Age Pension upon their fullness of age.  Forshia Koloi called for amendments on Section 77 and all the provisions that speaks to the subject of Bogosi and the powers infested in them. He said they should be made more detailed and avoid ambiguity in clauses.

Mr Tlhaodi said there must be Land Audits done in the country. Citing an example of the Tati Land as one that should be thoroughly audited. He further advised that, Election Day be put on the Calendar. He said, if it happens that the day be a Saturday, there should be some special dispensation for the 7th Day Adventist Church members to take part in voting without compromising on their day of worship. Tlhaodi added that there must be People’s Complaint Commission in the country.

Speakers emphasized the need for the country to review the exercise of ‘Political Party Funding’. They articulated that lack of funding political parties’ results in political parties resorting to finding funds for themselves. They reiterated that sometimes going to the extent of getting funds through illegal means. Bangwato agreed in one accord that they want the President be tried whilst in office if suspected of any criminal offences. This was revealed in their contributions. They pointed out that, the law should not to wait until the end of their tenure.

For his part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission Johnson Motshwarakgole expressed gratitude to the residents of Serowe. He applauded women for their kindness saying it is only them, who always take responsibility for doing things amicably in the society.

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Parliament unveils major shake-up plans & reforms

23rd May 2022
Parliament

Parliament has revealed that it plans to rollout a Community Score Card (CSC) exercise as part of sweeping reforms to its role and mandate among others.

The planed shakeup, along with the rollout of CSC will see creation of new Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Skills Development, Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture, Lands and Housing and Local Governance and Social Welfare.
Parliament informed government ministries and departments that the CSC is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of public services and interact with services providers to express their concerns.

According to Parliament, the CSC will assist to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of certain services related to the portfolio committees mentioned.  It said the main objective is for Parliament through identified oversight committees is to conduct a participatory monitoring and evaluating process that puts ownership and responsibility for delivery of services in the hands of both the Government and the service recipients.

“Through scorecards developed around identified sectors and services, communities and implementing departments remain in touch with progress made through the programme delivery cycle and are able to respond timely to bottlenecks,” the National Assembly said.  Some of the measurements and expected outcomes for the rolling out of the CSC include among others, improved monitoring and economic evaluation, to determine the impact of spending, so as to be able to direct resources from where they having the least benefit to those projects and programmes where they will have a larger positive impact.

The National Assembly explained further that this could result in a willingness to close down ineffective programmes and institutions and not to implement projects that do not deliver adequate returns, improved productivity in the public services, especially given the substantial pay increases.

The National Assembly believes that the rolling out of CSC is also expected to result in efficiency savings: many public services and programmes could be delivered more effectively at lower costs, by improving management and accountability, and making use of e-services. “This would yield financial savings that could be used for development programmes or reducing the deficit,” the National Assembly said.

The exercise is also expected to result in “Careful scrutiny of subsidy schemes and termination of those that do not address market failure or assist truly needy Batswana.”  The National Assembly revealed that proposed Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Wellness has been established in accordance with the Standing of National Assembly of Botswana.  It explained that the mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Health and HIV/AIDS.

“There is need to identify reasons for inefficiency and poor outcomes and ensure that health system reform improve productivity and value for money. Key areas of focus for scorecard, availability of drugs, staffing ratios, accessibility of health services, speciality care and services and sexual reproductively health,” the National Assembly said.

Another proposed Committee is on Local Governance and Social Welfare. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary Oversight and Scrutiny over Government Ministries. Departments and Agencies with Portfolio responsibilities in respect of Local Governance and Social Welfare.

“Strategies under NDP 11 to improve outcomes of social uplifment include; diversification of rural economies, development and support of small businesses, provision of social safety nets, eradication of absolute poverty, provision of quality and equitable education and harmonisation of social protection programmes,” said the National Assembly.  It said social nets need to be improved so as to target these most in need (at present some social safety nets benefit many people who are not the most needy, but also miss out some of those who are needy).

“Some social development policies more broadly should also aim to reduce household vulnerability to shocks such as those arising from fluctuations in agriculture, climate change, incomes and employment and improve their ability to handle shocks, thereby building household resilience,” the National Assembly said.

Another Committee established is on Agriculture, Lands and Housing. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Institutions, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

The National Assembly said the average growth rate of the agricultural sector since the beginning of National Development Plan 11 (NDP11) (i.e. during the 2017/2018 and 2018/19 financial years) was 2.5 percent, making it the slowest growing sector of the economy, in line with its historical performance.

“Over the same period, its share of GDP has been stagnant at around 2 percent. The sector also contributes job opportunities for about 80 000 adults. Food security has become paramount since the onset of the corona virus pandemic,” the National Assembly said.  The National Assembly said the Government realises the need to increase food production for products in which Botswana has a cooperative advantage such as beef, grains and other horticulture products.

The Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development has also been established. One of the mandates of Committee would be to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over government ministries, departments and agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Finance, Development, Trade and Industry.

“The sector is at the core of industrialisation aspirations and strategies for economic development in Botswana. Manufacturing in particular can be the driver of economic growth through technological improvements and innovation,” the National Assembly said. Hence, it said, the development of the sector could also foster export diversification and export led-growth in Botswana while benefitting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).

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Salbany, Bareetsi threaten to sue DIS

23rd May 2022
Salbany Bareetsi

Two senior members of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have threatened legal action against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), it has transpired. The threat is contained in an answering affidavit of Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo in which he is seeking an interdiction from High Court to stop the DIS from accessing investigation files at his office.

After the DIS detained DCEC officials Joao Salbany and Tsholofelo Bareetsi on December 16, 2021, they filed an official complaint against DIS and some officials. They complained about abuse of office by DIS and five officers. Salbany and Bareetsi also complained about unlawful detention by DIS and unlawful dissemination of classified information contrary to Section 44 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act. “The DIS interviews were premised on information divulged during the course of official DCEC work product, that is the Monday media brief meeting,” they wrote.

They further requested leave to institute a civil suit against the DIS and its officers, and invariably the State for inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered and unlawful detention. They also pondered a declaratory seeking a sanction against the DIS and Botswana Police Service (BPS) and clarification of the role of BPS officers seconded to DIS.

“The envisaged suit against BPS and DIS officers and the DIS will inevitably centre on investigations done by the DCEC and the scope of the protection availed to DCEC officers for conduct done in the course and scope of DCEC official duties.” The duo said it was self-evident from the conduct of the DIS officers that there was nothing urgent about the information required by the DIS, justifying their detention at its Sebele facility from 08:30 hours on December 16, 2021 until 02:00 hours on December 17, 2021.

They reasoned that the information required by the DIS could have been obtained by a simple request to DCEC Director General. “What the DIS did was to seek to intimidate officers of the DCEC whom they knew were carrying out investigations against some of the DIS officers who were part of their investigation team. This turn of events has a chilling effect not only on the functioning of the DCEC but also on the official conduct of officers of the DCEC as to how they conduct their official duties.”

They concluded by stating that in the event the request is granted, they would further request to be advised as to the provision of legal representation as the unalwful detention and the degrading and inhuman treatment by the DIS was in relation to matters conducted by and on behalf of the DCEC.

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