The fallout between Bakgatla Ba Kgafela’s Chief, Nyalala Pilane and Paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela II,who relocated to SA amid criminal charges relating to alleged floggings in Kgatleng District, is far from over.
The tension between the two traditional leaders, who are both in charge of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela at Moruleng outside Rustenburg, has divided the community, New age online newspaper reports
The two according the South African media used to be close friends but their relationship turned sour apparently over alleged corruption in their tribal authority.
The enmity between the two traditional leaders reached its heights after Kgafela II said he had uncovered abuse claims against his close friend, Pilan, recently.
This included the alleged abuse of community assets. Kgafela was said to have abused tribal funds.
The subjects, the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela, have been fully briefed on the claims and are involved in righting the alleged wrongs.
Victor Modimakwane, a community leader, said that Kgafela claimed that Bakgatla had an account at PSG Consulting amount of R3.6bn and only Pilane had access to that account.
“We have been fighting Nyalala Pilane for years and we are happy that Kgafela II has shown interest in the community’s property. It is through him that we found out what has been happening with our finances,” said Modimakwane.
He said Kgafela had a judgment from the South African Court of Appeal that confirmed that he was paramount chief in both countries. Despite the allegations, Nyalala was recognised as a legitimate traditional leader of the tribe by the provincial government.
Cooperative governance spokesperson Dineo Lolokwane confirmed that MEC China Dodovu, who was charged with the responsibility of running the traditional affairs in the province, regularly met with “dikgosi” to discuss different issues of tribal affairs.
“The department recognises Nyalala Pilane as the rightful Kgosi of Bakgatla ba Kgafela,” said Lolokwane.
Royal family spokesperson Segale Pilane said the family was not aware of accounts that were under Pilane’s name. “We are not supporting anyone who is on the wrong side of the law.
In fact, whoever is wrong must pay for their mistakes be it royal family members or Nyalala himself,” said the spokesperson. In his response, Chief Nyalala has refuted all the corruption allegations against him.
The chief also confirmed that the relationship between him and Kgafela II was not good but said he was still committed to resolve their differences.
He said Kgafela had laid criminal charges against him. The chief was responding to reports that he had been misusing funds of the community as alleged by Kgafela II. Alleged corruption in the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Tribal Authority was also contained in a report submitted by law firm BDO Steward Spencer.
Nyalala dismissed the allegations. He said the lawyer’s report unfairly implicated several people including him at the Bakgatla Bakgafela Tribal Authority.
The chief said the document was not supposed to be made public or used to press criminal charges against anybody because internal processes were not followed.
Regarding allegations that he might have embezzled tribal funds kept at PSG Consulting, Nyalala said the money Kgafela was referring to was an amount of R3.24bn that was given to Bakgatla by the Independent Development Corporation for their mining project.
He denied that the amount was R3.66bn. “This is not the money for Bakgatla but intended to be invested in mining once some preconditions have been met,” chief Nyalala said.