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'Chief' now faces stock theft charges

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

It never rains but pours for Limpopo's controversial chief, Mashile Marksman Phasha.

Police in Sekhukhune yesterday arrested the self-proclaimed chief on allegations of stock theft.

He was held for questioning after police discovered 12 sheep at his home in GaNkwana village.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo said Phasha was arrested after a tip-off that there was a herd of sheep at the royal kraal.

"Our members from the stock theft unit went to Phasha's house to investigate. Based on the findings, Phasha might be charged with theft of livestock," said Mojapelo.

Phasha, 53, was last week being sought by police in Randburg, Johannesburg, for alleged car theft. He eventually handed himself over after evading arrest for days.

His lawyer, Kotishi Molaba, said yesterday he was not aware that his client had been arrested.

Phasha is no stranger to controversy. He is currently out on R1000 bail after he was found in possession of an allegedly stolen Mercedes-Benz.

He was also arrested in 2005 after being found in possession of unlicensed firearms and a wheelbarrow full of ammunition.

After the death of his brother, Nkwana Aubrey Phasha in April 2002, Phasha allegedly appointed himself chief of the tribe without the approval of the royal council.

This action caused an uproar in the village, resulting in calls to Premier Sello Moloto to intervene.

Though Moloto does not recognise Phasha's chieftaincy, he has asked the royal council to discuss the issue among themselves and present him with a unanimous decision so that he can confer a certificate on the agreed ruler.

The royal council, family and other villagers were apparently in agreement that the late chief's son, Potlake, should succeed his father. But because he is only seven years old, they wanted Potlake's mother, Tlakale Mavis Phasha, to become the interim ruler.

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