Public violence breaks out after tribal chief’s murder


The police in the Ngaka Molema district in Potchefstroom, North West, are on high alert following the death of tribal chief Gopane Phillip Motuba (65) from Matshepe outside Mahikeng.

Motuba was attacked in his home by two unknown men on Saturday morning around 04:30. He was robbed and killed.

“After the incident, properties belonging to a man who is believed to be responsible for Motuba’s death were set on fire on Monday,” says Brig. Sabata Mokgwabone, spokesperson for the police. “The houses are used, among other things, for training and consultation by traditional healers. Two vehicles were also set on fire and a third was damaged.”

A road between Mahikeng and Itsoseng has also been blocked.

“Mahikeng police’s public order unit arrested 39 persons (11 men and 28 women) for, among other things, public violence. After the arrests, the Matshepe community gathered at Lomanyaneng Police Station to demand the suspects’ release. They later adjourned.”

The suspects, aged between 22 and 55, are expected to appear in the Molopo Magistrate’s Court soon.

Lt. Gen. Sello Kwena, provincial police commissioner, condemned the incidents. He said it was a “clear sign of contempt for the law and cannot be tolerated”. He admonishes the community to work with the police to ensure justice rather than taking matters into their own hands.