Kgafela surrenders

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Finally the fugitive Bakgatla King Kgafela Kgafela, his brother Mmusi and 11 of his subjects have surrendered to the police. The men spent the night at the Special Support Group Camp (SSG) Multi-purpose hall.

It is believed that some Bakgatla elders convinced the men to surrender. After learning about the men's surrender Mmegi staffer GREG KELEBONYE visited the SSG camp where the men would reportedly arrive and narrates the events as they unfolded

 10 pm - 10:05 pm
The vehicles arrive at exactly 10 pm. In the lead is a white SSG landrover defender that proceeds to park in front of the multi-purpose hall. Sidney Pilane's Mercedes Benz S350 B616 ALH parked right behind it and the King, his brother, a man who I think from the distance where I am is Maclean Letshwiti alight from the vehicle. Then follows a canopied Toyota Hilux B162 ANI from where most of the men disembark. Behind the Hilux comes a BMW 7 series with registration number VTN 1 GP, belonging to the South African lawyer who formed part of the defence team for Kgafela and his men.

Police Commissioner Thebeyame Tsimako arrives in a silver double cab Hilux parked in the main parking lot, immediately next to the unmarked Mmegi vehicle. 


He is accompanied by a younger man in a short-sleeved chequered shirt. A dark VW Passat (or is it a Jetta?) arrives and stops behind the Commissioner's vehicle and local attorney Banyatsi Mmekwa disembarks and is wheeled to the hall by a tall gangling young man.

10:07 pm
As the remands take seats inside the hall - forming a circle of sorts, the lawyers and the police also sit and a discussion of sorts ensues, as water is passed around for the men.

10: 10 pm
A bespectacled woman in a white long-flowing skirt - ostensibly a police officer, arrives with several glasses and water. The discussion in the hall continues.

A number of police officers mill about. They are not armed. But further down towards the kitchen several others - in SSG gear stand in the shadows. They are armed.

10:13 pm
The Police Landrover Defender leaves.

10: 16 pm
"A ga wa bona Rre Bosilong?" one of the officers, coming from among those in the dark asks a colleague standing by the entrance. His mate confirms that "Rre Bosilong" is inside. The man walks in. Two men walk towards the door. One of them is the police commissioner.

10:20 pm
 Tsimako talks to someone on his phone and explains that the men "will spend the night here", and that they shall be transferred, ostensibly to prison, first thing in the morning. Following the call he chats to the other man with him: "Go raya gore ke tlaa robala jaanong [I shall now be able to have some sleep]. The other man concurs as Tsimako adds, "ke sale ke phakeletse ko Mochudi ".

10:23pm
The young man driving the Toyota Hilux tells  Tsimako that he needs to rush to the shop to buy something for the man.
Tsimako wonders if the man is not one of the accused and the young man quickly assures him that he is not an accused.

10:26 pm
A black Range Rover registration number B 808 ARK arrives and parks in the spot where the Land Rover was parked a while back.
An armed soldier, an SSG officer and the driver disembark from the vehicle.
The soldier proceeds to adjust his bullet-proof vest as the driver opens the boot and removes a white food crate which he takes into the hall. The men are soon feeding.

10:30 pm
A number of the men, Mmusi Pilane in a red and white striped T-Shirt and accused number four immediately identifiable leave their seats to stretch their legs at the hall entrance. They then go back to their seats.

10:32 pm
Several of the government men and the lawyers shake hands. Mclean Letshwiti exits the building and assumes the driver's role in the Black Range Rover. He leaves alone.

10:33 pm
The lawyers leave - all of them, except Pilane leave in the metallic BMW with the South African registration number.

10:34 pm
An SSG officer closes, then opens the metal doors to the hall - possibly a polite way of telling Pilane that it is time.

10:35pm
Police Commissioner Tsimako's vehicle leaves.

10:38 pm
Accused number four exits the hall, walks to Pilane's vehicle and fetches a bag from the rear left passenger seat. The bag presumably contains clothes. He walks back into the hall.

10:39 pm
Three officers - two in SSG uniform and the third, in regular police uniform stand by the entrance to the hall. One of the SSG officers once again closes and opens the metal gate to the hall.Pilane is up and walking towards the door.  It is time to leave.
Better go before he  recognises me, and off we go. We could not get any pictures as the blooming camera kept blinking its red light, promising to give us away. In fact at some point the thing's flash went off. A police officer standing by must have been convinced upon closer look that it was only the flash-light from the mobile phone.

He did not know the cell-phone was a decoy. The officer at the boom gate kindly allowed us through, as he did when we entered. No questions as before. Just a gentle wave of the hand to go through.  Phew, what a night!, I thought as our vehicle slithered away.

Editor's Comment
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