Bapo Ba Mogale give Lonmin deadline

By Thabiso Thakali Time of article published Jul 26, 2016

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The tribal community of Bapo Ba Mogale in the North West has given platinum mining giant Lonmin until Thursday to respond to their grievances over alleged misuse of mining rights royalties.

The community which threatened to boycott municipal elections over their fight with the tribal council on the use of money earmarked to develop their area, marched to Lonmin on Tuesday.

They handed a memorandum of demands including that Lonmin give them a report about all monies paid to the tribe's investment company since royalties were swapped for equity in July 2014.

The group took their frustrations with their Traditional Council to a local radio station in recent weeks where they aired allegations of misuse of funds.

On Tuesday the community said it also wanted to know the number and value of contracts given to the investment company owned by the tribal council?.

The group also asked that a multi-million rand bus contract entered into by Lonmin and the investment arm due to resume next week be suspended.

Community spokesman Kgomotso Morare said they also wanted to know if Lonmin had given the investment company a guaranteed loan and for how much.

“We want to know from the list of companies belonging to Bapo that are on Lonmin's database, which contracts have started, how much they are making and the details of all the monies paid by Lonmin to all Bapo accounts and companies,” he said.

“We have given them until Thursday to respond to the demands made.”

Last week, a group of traditional council supporters forced Madibeng FM, a community radio station in Brits, to cancel an interview with those opposed to the tribal leadership.

Station manager Nic Motloung said he had invited the traditional council and its critics to talk about the lack of development.

He said he had been broadcasting debates about the problems the community faced. Motloung has since been threatened by supporters of the tribal council who marched to his ?station and trashed its reception area.

Bapo Traditional Council spokesman Vladimir Mogale has dismissed all allegations levelled against the council.

He said the traditional council would submit its first audited financial statements in September.

He said most of the people making the allegations were opposed to the new administration.

In 2013, more than R500 million disappeared from the tribal council's trust fund. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is currently investigating the matter.

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