'Our chief is the problem'

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The community of GaTauyatswala near Steiloop outside Polokwane is at loggerheads with their local chief following allegations that she has taken unpopular decisions without consulting the affected community.

The villagers have accused Chief Raesibe Tauyatswala of continuously stalling projects aimed at developing the village. She also allegedly enriched herself with the villagers' money.

Tauyatswala allegedly proclaimed herself chief shortly after the death of her husband, David, in 2004. Since then, she has "become a law unto herself and rules the community in a dictatorial style".

According to the Babirwa Civic Organisation, Tauyatswala ruled the community with an iron fist and refused to take advice from any of the villagers.

"Tauyatswala has become a law unto herself. We have had enough of her leadership," said Marope Malowa, secretary of Babirwa.

"She must step down and allow the community to choose the right person to lead them."

Among other accusations were that Tauyatswala was charging villagers money for services that were supposed to be part of a chief's normal duties.

For instance, she allegedly forced villagers to contribute R2 a family for what she termed "civil preparedness".

"This is not right because she has failed to explain what 'civil preparedness' means or what the money would be used for," Malowa said.

She also allegedly charged any villager who wanted a letter of proof of residence R100.

Approached for comment yesterday, Tauyatswala said she was not surprised by the allegations.

She said she was appointed chief after due process.

She also claimed to be in possession of an appointment letter from Premier Sello Moloto's office.

"If people have a problem with my appointment, why don't they approach Moloto's office to challenge the validity of my status?" Tauyatswala asked angrily.

She said she was aware of people who had become disrespectful since she was appointed.

According to Jacob Rapholo, general manager responsible for traditional affairs in Moloto's office, Tauyatswala was the legitimate chief of the clan after she was given an appointment certificate in 2005.