Tempers fly as Dikgosi push for review of Bogosi Act

Ntlo ya Dikgosi members
Ntlo ya Dikgosi members

Tempers flared at the Ntlo ya Dikgosi Act during the debate on the motion calling for a holistic review of the Bogosi Act as some found it belittling, derogatory, divisive and eroding of their dignity.

Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong region had requested that the second House to ask the Government to make a holistic review of the Bogosi Act. Modise said the Act was vague and ambiguous in at least 14 sections hence the need for reviewing. He said the Act was overtaken by events and had a lot of loopholes.

In response, the assistant minister of Local Government and Rural Development Frans van der Westerhuizen, noted that the Act was due for review after being in use for seven years.

The motion, supported by most Dikgosi, eventually passed, but with the divergence of Kgosi Kgari III of Bakwena and Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane of Bangwato.

During the debate on Wednesday, Kgosi Seate Marumo of Kanye region supported the motion, noting that the Act was belittling through the use of the term Bogosana. “This term is derogatory and we have lost our dignity because of it, people do not respect us, they call us names because of this title,” he said.

This made the assistant minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso to rise and dismiss Marumo’s argument as a non-issue. She said it was just a title, the same a hers being an assistant minister. She said Bogosana just referred to the position and not the person. But Marumo immediately responded. “Ga go tshwane. Wena o ka tseega jang o le mothusa Tona gotwe o Tonanyana? Ha re le Magosana wena o Tonanyana. ”

Kgosi Thabo Maruje III Masunga also supported the motion stating that the review should also apply to the country’s constitution, stating that the constitution is old and needs to be reviewed concurrently with the Bogosi Act. Masunga referred to the Balopi commission, undertaken in 2002 and had called  for amendments of sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Constitution.

He said as it stands with  the current Act, some sections of the society were more equal than others, hence enjoying more privileges.

Kgosi Kekailwe Tefiso Ngwaketse concurred saying the Act needed to be amended to cater for security at Dikgotla. He said Dikgosi usually find themselves presiding over cases without being protected from those who can potentially harm them, being suspects or their acquaintances.

When the debate resumed on the third day, yesterday, Kgosi Oreagetse Machilidza of Boteti region said the Act was imposed on them without proper consultation seven years ago. Machilidza said the law belittled other Merafe as they are forced to submit to foreign Dikgosi. “If Central District has so many Members of Parliament, why should we all be under one Kgosi? How capable is a Kgosi to rule over such a large area? It does not make sense,” he said.

Machilidza said they were sick and tired of having some Merafe being able to take decisions on Bogosi on hehalf of other tribes. He said the amendment of the Act is long overdue stating that all Merafe are equal and pay equal taxes.

Kgosi David Toto of Kgalagadi said the current Act left Dikgosi powerless. He said the institution of Bogosi deserved more respect and should be placed under the Office of the President and report to the President, as they are equal to Ministers in their status.

When Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane rose, he said he was pained by attitude, hatred, tribalism, jealousy, and some acts he observed were intentionally displayed by the Dikgosi when contributing to the debate. “Some said Bogosana is belittling, but it is a title they long found . There was nothing wrong with it. In our culture we have only one Kgosi, being one who was born a Kgosi,” he said. Kgamane stated that he was against the motion criticising those who complained of some Merafe ruling over others.Also opposed to the motion was Kgosi Kgari III, who also stated that he found nothing wrong with the Constitution to warrant a review.  “Kgosi Modise, when presenting the motion, said some sections were not clear and needed to be clarified. I beg to differ with him. Simple English was used and it is easy to understand. The Act should stand as it is working for the House,” he said.

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