21 April 2019


Tswaing RHR Forum to get communities working together


Nthusang Lefafa


Communities of Tswaing Local Municiality now have their own elected committee of local residents to ensure that their issues are given the necessary attention, while fostering a spirit of working together and healing the pains of the past.

Bokone Bophirima Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, launched the Tswaing Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal Forum (RHR) in Kopela village last week, following violent protests that saw schools and a clinic torched.

The 15-member RHR Forum represents all the wards of the Tswaing municipality, with the volunteers including youth religious groups and traditional leaders, as well as Community Policing Forums and Community Work Programme employees from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. All concerns raised by the community will be voiced through the RHR Committee and then forwarded to the municipality. If it's something that the municipality cannot resolve, the matter will be escalated to a relevant provincial government department.

The formation of the Local RHR Committee is in line with the commitment the Premier made during his 2016 State of the Province Address that all local municipalities in the province will have RHR forums in order to heal and reconcile communities.

Premier Mahumapelo told the media that it was important to go back to Kopela to see how government can help rebuild infrastructure and restore social cohesion after the burning of schools and a clinic months ago. He said government was in Kopela "to make sure that there is unity and people work together. And to say to the people of Kopela, yes you were angry and you ended up venting your anger on schools and a clinic. Unfortunately that has set us back, but we have to make sure that we rebuild those. We have lost over R250-million, but we have to rebuild them".

"This is your government. It's a humble, listening government. If you've got issues don't vent your anger on your own infrastructure," he said, adding that what is pleasing with Kopela is that residents realized their mistake of destroying property during protests and "all of them are saying 'we are very sorry".

The Premier said the provincial government's aim is to see suffering and poverty being completely removed from Bokone Bophirima.

He urged Tswaing residents to take part in the economy. "Residents of Kopela must establish a Kopela Business Chamber to exploit opportunities in mining, agriculture and tourism. We want the youth to come together and form cooperatives and government will help to establish peanut factories, commercial farms, bakeries and sunflower oil producing plants," he said.

Community member and farmer, Mosalashuping Kgomo, said it was important to rid the community of criminal elements and ensure that young people are united so they can create employment opportunities for themselves.

Kgosi Noto Moshoete of Barolong Ba Ga Seitshiro thanked the Premier for his support and said the provincial government was always there when needed.

"I am overjoyed on this important day and thank you for your support. We as the people of Kopela still need your assistance as we are faced with challenges like illegal land occupation and we need proper road infrastructure that will link us to economic centres."

RHR is one of the five pillars of the Fifth administrationof Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government, which include Agriculture, Culture and Tourism (ACT), Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD), Setsokotsane and Saamtrek-Saamwerk.