Less than a month after Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela II celebrated the removal of Kgosi Nyalala Pilane from office, some Bakgatla in Moruleng are also calling for Kgafela II’s removal.
Pilane’s derecognition was a direct result of a campaign that Kgafela II had waged for a long time, after a conflict between the two started when he (Kgafela II) questioned Pilane’s handling of tribal finances.
Now, a group referred to as Bana Ba Bakgatla have written a letter to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to derecognise Kgafela II and his royal family’s chieftaincy over Bakgatla in Moruleng and instruct the North West Province premier to reinstate Kgosi Pilane.
In the letter dated July 29, 2020, Bana Ba Bakgatla say they cannot be ruled by a “fugitive from Botswana” as they are not a colony of Botswana.
The group gave Ramaphosa seven days to respond to their letter, failing which they will mobilise the community in Moruleng to defend and protect themselves against what they term government-sponsored ‘colonialism’.
“Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela in Moruleng are a distinct, sovereign and independent traditional community. Bakgalatla-ba-Kgafela are an integral part of South Africa. We are not a colony of Botswana or Mochudi as Mokgoro sponsored programme seeks to achieve.
We reject this attempt with every fibre in our land. We pay our allegiance to the South African constitution.
We are not Botswana citizens and therefore we rejected every attempt by Mokgoro to impose a royal family and Kgosi over Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela in Moruleng,” read the letter in part.
The group has called the North West government officials corrupt and accused them of facilitating a fraudulent South African citizenship for Kgafela II, his sister
The group also demanded that all criminal charges against Kgafela be reinstated and thoroughly investigated.
“We call upon Cyril Ramaphosa to direct Mokgoro to engage with the legitimate royal family of Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela in Moruleng, launch a full investigation into how Kgafela II, his sister and Ramono Linchwe fraudulently obtained South African citizenship. We reject without fear or favour attempts by Mokgoro or government to destroy our legitimate traditional leadership structure in Moruleng,” the group wrote.
They further called on President Ramaphosa to direct for an investigation into why the North West province frustrated Kgafela II’s extradition to Botswana to stand trial for his assault case.
When contacted for comment Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela deputy chief, Kgosi Bana Sekai Linchwe said he was not aware of the letter. Kgosi Linchwe said he could not deal with a matter that has been legally addressed in the past.
“I don’t know anything about that letter and its contents. Maybe I must see what their reasons are because we seem to be going back and forth.
These issues have been addressed before unless we say we don’t have anything else to do.
I don’t think any normal person or Mokgatla could say he wants to remove Kgosikgolo from the throne,” he said.
Bakgatla-ba-ga-Kgafela have a peculiar tribal territory that is recognised between Botswana and South Africa. The tribe has invested in the mining industry and has shares in large companies such as Anglo Platinum in South Africa.