Chieftainship dispute among platinum-rich Mapela community

14 March 2018 - 16:02 By Ernest Mabuza
A shepherd drives a herd of cattle towards the Mogalakwena platinum mine in Mokopane, Limpopo.
A shepherd drives a herd of cattle towards the Mogalakwena platinum mine in Mokopane, Limpopo.
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

A second member of the Mapela traditional authority has entered the fray over who should be the rightful traditional leader of the area where the Mogalakwena Platinum Mine in Limpopo is situated.

In 2016‚ Anglo American Platinum subsidiary Rustenburg Platinum paid the Mapela traditional authority‚ then led by Kgoshi (Chief) David Kgabagare Langa‚ R175-million to settle a number of legacy issues unrelated to the leases.

These funds were expected to provide seed capital for creating sustainable‚ long-term and diversified growth for the community.

However‚ the community‚ whose area includes Mokopane‚ Ga-Masenya and Backenberg‚ were up in arms‚ saying they knew nothing about the agreement‚ the trust or the cash.

In April last year‚ Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha removed David Kgabagare Langa as senior traditional leader of the Mapela traditional community and recognised Hans Malesela Langa as the new leader.

Hans Langa is due to be inaugurated as traditional leader in a ceremony in Mokopane on Sunday. David is however disputing Hans’s appointment in court.

And now Lesiba Langa is accusing his half-brother Hans of stealing the chieftaincy with the help of the provincial government.

Lesiba Langa claimed the premier of the province failed to consult and follow the correct family tree lineage. As a result‚ he said he had directed his lawyers to stop the coronation of Hans Masibe Langa.

Lesiba Langa said he was the rightful heir to the Langa-Masibe chieftaincy as he was from the first senior family of their great-grandfather Kgoshi Masibe Madimetja Ramahlaswana Langa.

“Bogoshi (kingship) is a sacred thing. If not dealt with properly‚ the nation would not have prosperity and there won’t be any rain‚ or growth or wealth. It needs to be fixed properly with all involved. Not me alone‚ but all have a stake to the chieftaincy of Masibe-Langa nation‚” Lesiba Langa said.