The royal family of the Barolong Boo Seleka traditional community of Thaba ’Nchu was granted leave to appeal in the Bloemfontein High Court today with AfriForum’s support against a judgment handed down in September 2019. The court, in the aforementioned judgment, refused to set aside a report by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims and also refused to set aside the appointment of a new Kgosi (Senior Traditional Leader) by Ace Magashule. Today’s granting of leave to appeal will pave the way to set aside the wrongful transfer of power from the royal family to someone from outside the royal family.
This follows after a dispute group came into existence after the royal family had appointed Kgosatsana (Princess) Moipone Moroka as successor to her brother, the late Kgosi Gaopalelwe Moroka, as Kgosi after his passing away. The group was allegedly disgruntled with the appointment of a woman in this senior traditional leadership position.
Ace Magashule, former Premier of the Free State, then instructed the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims to investigate the matter. During the investigation the dispute group changed the grounds of their objection and argued that the leadership claim of the ruling royal family was invalid, based on the alleged wrongful succession of Kgosi Moroka II by Kgosi Tshipinare in 1880, more than 140 years ago. Based on a very deficient report by the Commission, Magasule decided to end the leadership of the ruling royal family of the Barolong Boo Seleka, which resulted in the legal battle that still rages on.
“This is a huge success for us, it is truly a watershed moment. The tide has turned in our favour, now justice must be served. It is clear to us as royal family that the dispute group does not have the interest of the community at heart; to them it is all about positions. The actions of this group cause instability in our local communities whom we, as royal family, have been serving since the early 1800s. Rumours are now spread that the royal family plan to sell land to AfriForum, but this is devoid of any truth. We are also very disappointed and deeply aggrieved by the complete lack of respect with which we as a royal family are treated by government officials. It is of even greater concern that, in court papers it previously filed, government denies that I am a princess and that my mother is a queen. It is very clear that they decided to strip us of our identity – an identity that I was born into,” says Kgosatsana Gabo Moroka (Motshabi), spokesperson for the royal family.
“We will immediately proceed to file our notice of appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal. We cannot allow the political tentacles of state capturers to infiltrate important community institutions such as traditional councils, and to take control for their own profit and to the detriment of communities on grass roots level,” says Barend Uys, responsible for intercultural cooperation at AfriForum.
AfriForum instructed its legal team on 20 January 2020 to become involved in this traditional leadership case after a meeting with the royal family.