On the 23rd of August 2016 Workers World Media Productions had an interview with Nic Motloung the station manager at Madibeng FM in Brits. Brits is a small town in the Northwest Province, surrounded by villages in the former Bophuthatswana homeland. This town has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past few months. The Bapong baMogale tribal authority tried and succeeded in silencing Madibeng FM on issues affecting the community and the tribal authority.
According to Nic Motloung who is also the host of a talk show, a paid tribal authority muscle man threatened his life, live on air. This started when the station began asking questions about the monthly R20-million that Lonmin Mine pays to the tribal authority and what it is used for. The community also took the matter up with the Public Protector whose report they are still waiting for.
Nic Motloung, Madibeng FM station manager and talk show host
It is alleged that a certain Mr. Nthotho who runs the affairs of the tribal authority is not even of the Bapong tribe, let alone a South African citizen. That is not sitting well with community members who are not even on the boards of companies allegedly opened with the money that was intended for community development.
We also spoke to everyday people in the streets of Brits who don’t know much about the dispute between the radio station and the tribal authority, but they are well aware of the missing money. People blame the government for letting a suspended Kgosi being left unchecked with people’s money. One man went as far as saying that “only R24 is left in the community account”, but this is not really the case.
Despite several mines paying mineral right to the authority, Bapong people don’t even have running water or toilets. This is supposed to be one of the richest tribes in Africa.
Our attempts to speak with Vladimir the spokesperson for the tribal authority did not get any response despite our agreement that we were going to give them the right to reply.