Lekalakala to miss fraud case court appearance due to illness

Mahikeng: The High Court of South Africa; North West Division postponed the fraud case against the former head of the Department of Health in the North West, Dr Andrew Lekalakala to 03 October 2022, owing to his ill health. His defence attorney provided the court with a medical certificate.

Lekalakala is facing two charges of fraud, one of contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and another, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA). The charges relate to alleged fraudulent awarding of a contract for mobile clinics to Mediosa Health Pty (Ltd) in February 2017, a company linked to the Gupa family. The mobile clinics were meant to service rural communities in the North West.

A similar project was already being implemented in the Free State province and Lekalakala, as the then accounting officer, allegedly decided to participate in the same contract and elected to apply the Treasury Regulations that allow for participation in an existing contract arranged by another organ of state, with the same contract terms. It was however discovered that the awarding of this contract did not comply with Treasury Regulations and the project was not budgeted for. The accused also falsely indicated during a management meeting that the service by Mediosa Health was a National Department of Health initiative that would be rolled out to other provinces. He further lied that there was compliance with the Treasury Regulations.

Mediosa Health allegedly received an upfront payment of R30 million and Lekalakala is alleged to have received gratification in a form of a trip to India, accompanied by his spouse and his associates. The state also intends proving that the service level agreement was signed on this trip and not at the Department of Health offices.

The state is expected to call its second witness when the trial commences in October. Meanwhile, Lekalakala is still out on R5000 bail and it was extended until his next court appearance.


Traditional healer gets life for murder of girlfriend

The High Court of South Africa; North West Division, sitting at Mogwase Regional Court, sentenced Thapelo Ramoruki (29), to life imprisonment for the murder of Tsholofelo Tsheko, known to be his girlfriend. He was sentenced to a further six-year imprisonment, for pointing a firearm and the court declared him unfit to possess a firearm. The sentence will run concurrently.

It is alleged that on 12 January 2021, Ramoruki who is a traditional healer together with Tsheko, their one-month-old baby and Tsheko’s younger brother drove to Sandfontein cemetery, to perform a ritual for his child. He took with him petrol, a pellet gun, a knife and traditional beer for that purpose. They then performed the ritual and subsequently moved to a nearby dam to cleanse themselves before going home.

At the dam, Ramoruki pointed a gun at himself, then later pointed it at Tsheko and ordered her to hand over the baby to her younger brother. He further instructed them to wait in the car. He then poured the girlfriend with petrol and set her alight. He went on to stab her in the abdomen several times, while she was burning. Tsheko’s younger brother saw flames and heard his sister screaming for help. He then took off with the car to seek help, police were also called and the suspect was arrested on the scene. Tsheko was rushed to Moses Kotane hospital, where she received medical attention but died on 13 January 2021.

The post-mortem report determined the cause of death, as multiple injuries, caused by stab and burn wounds. In aggravation of sentence, Adv. Sello Maema pleaded with the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence, as there are no compelling and substantial circumstances to justify that. Judge Tebogo Djadje shared the same sentiment and indicated that there is a huge outcry on gender-based violence and femicide and courts should restore faith in communities on such serious offences.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Dr Rachel Makhar-Sekhaolelo, welcomes this conviction and she lauded the SAPS and the state prosecutor for their hard work. “This should be a stern warning to those who may want to commit a similar offence that the criminal justice system is serious in dealing with gender-based violence and femicide and the abuse of women and children”, she concluded.

Long hand of the law catches up with former senior traffic department official

Phokeng: The Bafokeng Magistrates’ Court postponed a case against Levy Ikaneng, a former senior official at the Provincial Traffic Department, to 20 April 2022 for further investigations. Ikaneng is charged with two counts of negligent driving and failure or refusal to give blood/breath sample, both charges being in contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

Ikaneng, who is a husband to a senior magistrate, was allegedly arrested on 23 April 2016 after he knocked down a man with a Volvo sedan in Tlhabane. Upon his arrest he refused to have his blood/breath samples taken as he was suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

The pedestrian who was knocked down by Ikaneng is said to be bedridden and wheelchair confined as a result of the incident.

The matter was brought to the NPA’s attention by the family through a complaint after the docket was mysteriously closed without being handed over for prosecution. Advocate Cavin Mphaga took it upon himself to probe the matter with the SAPS and three years later it was brought back into the criminal justice system for prosecution.

Ikaneng is currently out on a warning and the court warned him not to interfere with the state witnesses and to avail himself on the next court appearance.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Adv Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo lauded Advocate Mphaga for his unwavering pursuit of justice for the victim by ensuring that the matter is brought back to the criminal justice system. “The NPA is serious in discharging its mandate of bringing justice to the most vulnerable without fear, favour or prejudice”, she said.

Released by SIU

NWU’s Prof Smit has new spiece named after him

Professor Nico Smit

Potchefstroom: According to Sir David Attenborough, who has at least 17 species named in his honour, having a species named after you is the “biggest of compliments that you could ask from any scientific community”. 

Internationally acclaimed North-West University (NWU) researcher, Prof Nico Smit, was recently complimented in such a way.

Researchers from the Queensland Museum in Australia and the Prince of Songkhla University in Thailand named a new species of cirolanid isopod in his honour.

Prof Smit is from the Water Research Group in the NWU’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

The new species, Metacirolana nicosmiti, was discovered living on the coral reefs in Fiji and has very unique diamond-shaped ornamentations on its head.

Metacirolana nicosmiti Bruce & Rodcharoen, 2021
Metacirolana nicosmiti Bruce & Rodcharoen, 2021

In their species description published in the December 2021 issue of Marine Biology Research, Drs Bruce and Rodcharoen state that the name of the new species honours Prof Smit, for his contribution to the knowledge of the Isopoda, primarily fish parasites, of southern Africa. It also recognises his influence as a colleague and mentor to numerous young scientists.

To date, Prof Smit and his students have already described more than 36 new species of isopods from across the globe, including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Africa, Australia and India.

This recognition puts Prof Smit alongside another person who excelled in what he did, namely the late lead vocalist of the rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury. He also has a cirolanid isopod named in his honor, the species Cirolana mercury

Issued by the North West University

Provincial government to continue to support the Schweizer-Reneke bereaved families

Four (4) of the nineteen (19) people were buried yesterday. Fourteen (14) of the nineteen (19) are from Ntlatseng. Four survivors are recuperating at the hospital,
Picture: Supplied.

Schweizer Reneke: North West Provincial Government has committed to continue to support the bereaved in Schweizer-Reneke through available social programmes.

The pronouncement was made by MEC for Social Development Boitumelo Moiloa who addressed a mass funeral of people who died in a horrific road accident, on behalf of North West Premier, Kaobitsa Bushy Maape, which was held at Ipelegeng Multi Purpose Centre in Schweizer-Reneke.

Government has assisted to bury people who were involved in a road accident that happened between Bloemhof and Schweizer-Reneke, which claimed 19 lives a week ago.

MEC Moiloa said the people of North West are still in shock following the accident.

“As the Provincial Government we remain shocked by this accident. We have been on site providing government support since hearing about the disaster. We thank all the departments and everyone who was involved in the funeral preparations to ensure a dignified funeral to the bereaved families” said MEC Moiloa.

Some of the bereaved families are from the Gumbi, Ntlatseng, Malepe, Molaetsi, Molebaloa and Gaudi family.

MEC Moiloa said government through the Department of Social Development, will continue to support the bereaved families.

“We will continue assisting the families through available programmes which include the Psychosocial Support, Social Relief of Distress and SASSA support” said MEC Moiloa to a funeral which was attended by hundreds of local residents.

Four (4) of the nineteen (19) people were buried on Saturday. Fourteen (14) of the nineteen (19) are from Ntlatseng. Four survivors are recuperating at the hospital.

NW Government reflects on SOPA

Images like these to become a thing of the past according to Premier Bushy Maape who delivered his SOPA last month. The executive council had an engagement on the SOPA as they chart a way forward on Service delivery challanges in the NW. Picture sewage spillage in at the Naledi Local Municipality in 2021.

Mahikeng: The North West Provincial Government had a successful Executive Council (EXCO) sitting yesterday, Wednesday, March 02, following the State of the Province Address by Premier Kaobitsa Bushy Maape last month.

The Executive Council reflected among others on the recent head-on-collision accident which claimed 19 lives in Mamusa Local Municipality, and conveyed special condolences to all the affected families, relatives and friends over the tragic loss.

The Executive Council has appointed a team of five MECs constituted by MECs Boitumelo Moiloa, Motlalepula Rosho, Wendy Matsemela, Oageng Molapisi and Sello Lehari, to focus on providing support for the mass funeral of all the deceased. This team will be supported by a technical team led by the Administrator and Director General in the Office of the Premier, and HODs for Social Development, Provincial Treasury, HODs and Administrators for Education, Community Safety and Transport Management and Administrator for Public Works and Roads.

The Executive Council received progress report on stabilisation and optimisation of pharmaceutical services in the North West Province. The report reflected decisive interventions made at the Mmabatho Medical Stores, which include improving financial management and human resources amongst others.  This progress report was endorsed as work in progress registered as a result of the Section 100 intervention in the province.

In addition, the Executive Council reflected on incidents of Gender Based Violence in the province and reiterated a call for all government departments to prioritise interventions in this area as this scourge continues to rear its ugly head.

The Executive Council also welcomed an update report on the District Development Model Presidential Imbizo that is to be held in the Mahikeng on Saturday, 12 March 2022. The Imbizo, which is the first of its kind in the 6th Administration, will be held in observance of the Covid-19 regulations and will afford citizens an opportunity to engage with President Cyril Ramaphosa.  This Imbizo will be preceded by build-up activities in various parts of Mahikeng Local Municipality. 

Issued by the Office of the Premier

NWest Provincial Government to prioritise infrastructure development to resuscitate tourism industry

By Bonolo Mohlakoana

Rustenburg – North West Premier Kaobitsa Bushy Maape maintains that plans to resuscitate the tourism sector will encapsulate prioritising infrastructure development. Premier Maape was addressing stakeholders in the tourism sector in Rustenburg. 

The primary objective of the meeting was to devise strategies which the sector can use to recuperate from the ramifications of the pandemic.  

Premier maintains government has the responsibility to create an enabling environment for tourism to thrive by responding to challenges such as ageing and dilapidating infrastructure. 

“Complaints were raised about the roads around Pilanesberg and we swiftly responded by allocating R50 million to upgrade roads in that area. More funds will be allocated in the next financial year. Our focus is based on two strategic objectives, which are to upgrade and revitalise the infrastructure, and this will contribute in job creation and address challenges such as poverty and unemployment” Premier Maape remarked.   

Tourism is one of the key drivers of the provincial economy and just before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, it contributed over sixteen (16) billion rands to the GDP of the province. Premier Maape insists government will also focus its energies on helping small and medium enterprises to circumvent challenges brought by the pandemic.

“Our focus will also be confined within assisting small enterprises to recover from the challenges brought by the pandemic. We have set ourselves timeliness to address all the challenges raised by both established and upcoming entities. We will be moving with speed to address all the concerns raised here” Premier Maape remarked.  

Issued by the Office of the Premier


By Bonolo Mohlakoana

Efforts by North West Provincial Government to resuscitate the economy post Covid-19 pandemic are ongoing as Premier Kaobitsa Bushy Maape accompanied by MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism Kenetswe Mosenogi, meet with stakeholders in the tourism sector. The primary objective of the meeting is to discuss strategies in which the sector can recuperate from the ramifications of the pandemic.

Tourism was one of the hardest hit sectors by lockdown regulations resulting in closure of many facilities. The industry is one of the key strategic pillars of the provincial economy and its resuscitation will put the economy on a trajectory of recovery and growth.

Members of the Media are invited to cover the event as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 08 February 2022

Time: 10h00 am

Venue: King’s Gate Hotel – Rustenburg


By Bonolo Mohlakoana

North West Premier Bushy Maape addresses farming sector in Rustenburg

Rustenburg – Agriculture is one the key drivers of the economy in North West. It contributes 2.9 % to the GDP in the provincial economy. The province is also the third largest producer of maize and this translates into seventeen (17%) percent of maize produced in South Africa. 

While the province is leading the pack in terms of poultry production as well as vegetable produce such as beetroot and onions it is trailing behind in terms of agro-processing. North West Premier, Bushy Kaobitsa Maape maintains this needs to change. 

“We need to build partnerships with established and emerging farmers, but critically we need to prioritise investments on agricultural infrastructure and facilities. Moreover, we need put more emphasis on mentorship and training for emerging farmers. This will go a long way in accelerating transformation in the sector through expanding our production but most vitally prioritizing access to markets” remarked Premier Maape. 

Government is looking at capitalising on the provincial and district corridors to lure investments into the province.  Among others, this will be carried out through the Accelerated Service Delivery Plan to respond to challenges such as water provision and road infrastructure. 

“The plan is assisting us in creating a tangible environment for business to thrive in our province. We are busy patching potholes and resurfacing our roads so that our produce can move with ease from one point to the other. This model is being implemented across the province” Premier Maape said. 

Farmers during the engagement with the North West provincial government.

MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono said a turn-around strategy has been developed to enhance performance of the agricultural sector in the province. 

“One of the pillars is aggregation which is market access model were investment is made on infrastructure and facilities to accelerate sustainable access to markets for emerging farmers. This include the investments on priority value chains which are able to enhance performance of multiple producers within a specific geographic location” remarked MEC Mohono.

The meeting with farmers forms part of ongoing efforts by government to resuscitate and grow the sector while creating opportunities for new entrants to participate actively in the provincial economy.

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