Battle for Rapitsi hots up

TENSIONS are hotting up between Molate Rapitsi and his aunt, Pulane Rapitsi, over who should be the rightful headman of Rapitsi village in Bolobedu, Limpopo.

The village is situated about 25km from Modjadjiskloof and about 5km from GaKgapane township in Bolobedu.

Molate took over as headman of the village after the death of his father, Mogale Edwin Rapitsi, more than 20 years ago.

He was removed from his position after members of the community complained to the Modjadji Royal Council about his poor conduct.

Among other things Molate was accused of financial mismanagement, irregularities in the allocation of residential sites and that he was always drunk and could not deal with the problems of the village.

According to villagers who spoke to Sowetan, Molate had failed the community because he forced them to pay abnormal fines if they were found guilty in the royal court.

Some alleged that he was always drunk and treated most of them badly.

Other members of the community claimed that Molate wanted his niece, Mapula, to be headman.

They also alleged that he had held a referendum at the tribal court last weekend to ask people to decide whom they wanted to lead them as headman.

A source in the village told Sowetan that Pulane was not the rightful leader because she was married to Maak, and no longer had the right to become headman.

In an interview with the current headman, Pulane Rapitsi, she denied that there was any fight between her and her niece.

"It is only a group of people who used to serve on Molate's tribal committee who want to instigate violence in the village," she said.

Meanwhile, Molate was adamant that he was still leader of the village.

He said he had apologised to the Modjadji Royal Council about his bad conduct.