Baphalane village's community services stopped in North West

North West premier Job Mokgoro.
North West premier Job Mokgoro.
Image: Veli Nhlapo / Sowetan

The community of Baphalane in Ramokokastad in the North West want the North West premier, Job Mokgoro to appoint an administrator to their tribal council if he wants services and schools in their village to start running again.

The community shut down all schools, a clinic and pre-schools in the area since June 14.

They wanted government to stop promising to fix their problems and to start acting.

The community has two major things that they want government to attend to. They want an administrator to take over while an investigating team appointed by Mokgoro continues to investigate the maladministration and corruption alleged to have happened at their tribal office.

They also want Chief Joe Ramokoka to be suspended or to step down while the investigating team do their work.

On Tuesday night, the community got into two buses and five taxis and headed to the North West provincial legislature.

They wanted Mokgoro to explain to them why he has not appointed an administrator as he has promised in a meeting between the premier, the royal family and the traditional council.

The community said Mokgoro told them in their last meeting that an administrator will start immediately and that an established intervention team would start with the corruption investigation.

Three weeks after the administrator failed to take over, they marched to Mokgoro’s office.

Community leader Charles Makinita said they had trusted that Mokgoro would help them.

“We thought he was better that the previous premiers who used their political powers to keep the situation here in Ramokoka the way it is,” he said.

Makinita  said the community  do not know what happened to the 26% shareholding in one of the mines operating on their land,Northam platinum mine.

To date the mine has paid over R400m, according to Makinita, but the community does not know what happened to it.

He said that the three previous premiers of the province did nothing about their problem.

“They all failed to assist. The only conclusion we could come up with was that they also have interest in those mines,” Makinita said.

Mokgoro’s spokesperson Vuyisile Ngesi said the premier does not have the powers to appoint the administrator.

“The premier could not appoint the administrator as he did not have the go-ahead of the royal family and the traditional council," he said.

He said, however, that Mokgoro used his powers to invoke section 10 (2) read with section 9 (3) of the North West Traditional Leadership & Governance Act of 2005 as an intervention measure.

Section 10 (2) states that the premier may, subject to the provision of this act and the constitution of the republic and with due observation of the tradition applicable in a traditional community, take necessary steps to ensure the due performance of the function of the traditional council.

Section 9(3) says he may take steps not inconsistent with the act to ensure proper administration and good governance by the traditional council.

“Therefore informed by those two sections the premier could only put in place an intervention measure that would involve the appointment of investigators with clear terms of reference to issues raised by the community around maladministration and corruption,” Ngesi said.

A member of the royal family, Eugine Ramokoka said government created the animosity. “They created the tension. We do not want an administrator, the premier must talk to the right members of the royal family first,” he said.

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