Bakgatla reconciliation talks fail

All accused persons will go for trial


Several reconciliatory meetings between accused persons and complainants in the Bakgatla floggings case have failed to bear any fruit and in consequence all the accused persons will go for trial.The accused, including Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela II, had hoped for an agreement with the complainants that would result in the withdrawal of the charges of illegal flogging they are facing.



However, last week when the accused appeared before Regional Magistrate court for an update on the outcome of the reconciliation process, the court scheduled the matter for trial in September and October because the parties have failed to agree. One of the accused persons also confirmed to this publication that the talks failed because the victims wanted millions of Pula from them, arguing that it was impossible to meet those demands. “We will gofor trial and the law will take its course,” he lamented.



Meanwhile, The Gazette learnt that 22 more suspects are expected to appear before the court for arraignment on 27 June. The court recently heard during a mention appearance of the 12 accused persons that the defence had received an amended charge sheet from the prosecution. It increases the number of charges to 17 and the accused persons to 35. Initially,there were 13 suspects, but Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela II,who was one of the accused, has since fled the country.After Kgafela and his Bakgatla tribesmen were charged with the floggings, Bakgatla approached government to negotiate an out of court solution to the matter,whereupon the latter agreed. It is said that present in the meeting were the Attorney General, Athalia Molokomme, the then Deputy Police Commissioner Kenny Kapinga, the then Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake and his Permanent Secretary Thato Raphaka.



The state is said to have agreed with the Bakgatla delegation that the issue can be resolved. The Bakgatla delegation was urged to go and reconcile with the floggings victims and apply for withdrawal of charges which the state had agreed not to oppose. The trial is to resume without Kgafela,who the state said will be tried separately as he is in self imposed exile in South Africa. Warrants for his arrest have since been issued.