DETHRONED Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Senior Traditional Leader Tebogo Phillip Malatji has accused the Limpopo government of “harassment, bullying, partisanship and unfair discrimination”.
In his notice of motion filed at the Equality Court and seen by African Times, Malatji further accused Premier Stan Mathabatha, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Makoma Makhurupetje and others of unduly removing him from office and replacing him with Makhati Bishop Malatji.
A notice of motion is a formal notice to participants in litigation of an intention to seek specific relieve in an action.
Tebogo Malatji (39) was officially dethroned on May 14 when Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC Seaparo Sekoati, on Mathabatha’s behalf, installed Makhati Malatji (54) as Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane’s acting Senior Traditional Leader at a highly attended ceremony held at the Seloane Sundowns Stadium outside Phalaborwa.
However, the decision to push him out was taken on October 20 2015 when the provincial government decided to withdraw his recognition as Senior Traditional leader in favour of Makhati Malatji.
Tebogo Malatji now wants the government’s decision to stop payment of his salary from September 2015 and subsequently installs Makhati Malatji as acting leader to be declared null and void.
He is seeking a court order forcing Makhurupetje and Mathabatha to reinstate him and pay his salary retrospectively, pending the outcome of his application next week.
According to court documents, Tebogo Malatji’s notice of motion is supported by the Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Traditional Council, as the second claimant, and Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Royal Family as the third claimant.
Of the 33rd respondents, Mathabatha is listed as the first, Makhurupetje as the second, a royal splinter group known as the “Royal Family” as the 21st and Makhati Malatji as 22nd.
Tebogo Malatji dismissed the “Royal Family” as nothing but a group of people who claimed to have been “vested with duties to protect and act as custodians of the Bogoshi ba Phalaborwa ba Seloane”.
“Be pleased to take notice that Tebogo Phillip Malatji, the Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Traditional Council and Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Royal Family (hereinafter referred to as “the Claimants”) hereby give notice of their intention to make application to the Honourable Court on 3 and 6 June 2016, alternatively on a date and time to be arranged with the Register of Court,” read part of the notice of motion.
Tebogo Malatji further requested the court to stop Mathabatha and Makhurupetse from “meddling with, harassing, bullying or interfering with, and/or discriminating and invading the first claimant’s [Tebogo Malatji] status as Senior Traditional Leader of Ba-Seloane Traditional Community, removing and/or withdrawing the first claimant from his position aforesaid pending the outcome of the Court proceedings before the Limpopo Division of the High Court, Polokwane (“Polokwane High Court) under case number 931/2013”.
The notice of motion claimed the Limpopo government’s April 1 decision to install Makhati Malatji as acting leader on May 14 “constitutes meddling with, bullying and/or harassment and partisanship as against” Tebogo Malatji, Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Traditional Council and the Ba-Phalaborwa Ba-Seloane Royal Family.
Limpopo government spokesperson Phuti Seloba and Mathabatha spokesperson Kenny Mathivha could not be reached for comment as they failed to respond to repeated calls and emails.
Motupa Selomo, Limpopo COGHSTA spokesperson, requested written questions and had yet to respond at the time of going to print.