Crisis in Ga-Mphahlele

  • by African Times
  • 2 Years ago
  • 0

Factions clash over community funds being withdrawn.

RUSSEL MOLEFE

THE crisis in the community of Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo has taken turn for the worse with violence having flared up again.

On Sunday, two groups again clashed, and charges and counter-charges have been laid at the Lebowakgomo police station.

The latest clashes come hard on the heels of yet another order by the Polokwane High Court interdicting the local regent, Sohia Ngwanamohube Phatudi- Mphahlele (commonly referred as Ngwanamohube), and her son, Thabo Malekutu Phatusi-Mphahlele, to desist from withdrawing money from a bank account held by the community under the Bakgakga Ba Ga Mphahlele Traditional Authority.

ABSA Bank, which was also cited as a fourth respondent in the matter, was also ordered to freeze or put on hold the account. The application was brought by Nkopodi Mogalatjane Mphahlele, the Mphahlele Royal Council and the Mphahlele community after allegations of financial mismanagement by the respondents.

Both the applicants and respondents will nominate four people – two from each group – administer the bank account if there are crucial or emergency payments to be made from the account. The court order will be effective until an application brought before the Polokwane High Court seeking the removal of Ngwanamohube, amongst others, has been finalised. The accusation against Ngwanamohube include;

  • That she unlawfully and illegally ceded powers to her son, Thabo Malekutu, without the resolution of the Bakgaga Ba Ga Mphahlele Traditional Authority and the Royal Council
  • That she unlawfully and illegally appointed Thabo Malekutu as the representative of the Mphahlele Community Development Trust in contravention of the Trust Laws
  • That Thabo Malekutu subsequently misrepresented himself to a firm of attorneys as a representative of the Trust. For him to be appointed as representative of the Trust, it was argued, a resolution of the beneficiaries of the Trust should have been obtained and produced to the firm of attorneys.
  • That Ngwanamohube and Thabo Malekutu set themselves a stage to contravene the preferrent prospecting right and “secretly” commence with illegal mining in a joint venture with Ditabeng Mining. The Polokwane High Court has earlier ordered them to stop with illegal mining in the area.

However, Ngwanamohube in her answering affidavit before the Polokwane High Court has denied the allegations: “I deny that I have illegally appointed the First Respondent (Thabo Malekutu) to act as a Chief of the Mphahlele community and as Chairperson of the Bakgaga Ba Ga Mphahlele Traditional Governance Council.I am not authorised to appoint a Chief. It is the Premier of the Limpopo Province that has the power and authority to appoint a Chief.

“In so far as the records kept by the Premier of Limpopo as provided for by the Limpopo Traditional Leadership and Institutions Act, and in so far as I am aware, the Mphahlele Royal Council does not exist. Moreover, such a Council, if it exists, it is not in charge of the Mphahlele Traditional Community.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the Premier has initiated the process to review the certificate of acting traditional leaders and regents in accordance with the Limpopo Traditional Leadership and Institutions Act.

The Act dictates that the Premier must review the recognition of acting traditional leaders and regents every 12 months.

The Premier’ spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, said the court orders received from the Court of Laws prompted the review: “The House of Traditional Leaders has been approached to support the process. Their royal families have the authority to subject them to the review – if not, the courts will.

“Application for review are being received and processed accordingly. The numbers of those received and those to be reviewed are not yet consolidated as the final date is the beginning of the next financial year.”

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