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DC fights for famo gangs

THE Democratic Congress (DC) has sought legal opinion on how it can continue working with the banned famo gangs without violating the law. Deputy leader Motlalentoa Letsosa told thepost on Tuesday that the party needs legal guidance because the government’s decision to declare the famo gangs as subversive means it is not a crime to associate with them. The DC has strong relations with the Terene ea Chakela and other Seakhi-affiliated gangs.

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“This is an intricate matter that requires careful handling,” Letsosa said.

“The national executive committee resolved not to state the party’s stance until we have a legal opinion,” he said.

“It doesn’t make sense that we are now barred from wearing our blankets and listening to music of our choice,” Letsosa said, adding that “not everyone listening to or following famo music engages in criminal activities”.

He said criminals are in all groups of people, “not limited to famo gangs”, that the government can decide to ban the music.

The government issued a gazette declaring 12 famo gangs as subversive and unlawful organisations, based on the Internal Security (General) Act of 1984.

The Act gives the police powers to arrest, detain, and charge anyone belonging to or professing to belong to an unlawful organisation and those seeking donations from them.

People are no longer allowed to sing, listen to or support famo music by any of the banned gangs or wear any clothes bearing the gangs’ insignia.

How the DC views famo gangs was manifested in the DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu’s eulogy at the funeral of Terene ea Chakela’s boss, Ntei Tšehlana, in 2021.

Mokhothu said when he saw famo gangsters, he did not associate them with any crime.

Instead, he said, he saw “smart men and women in gang regalia”.

He said most of Terene members “are not monsters or criminals”.

“When I see you, I see men and women who are dressed well and who love what they do,” Mokhothu said.

“The issue of your blankets’ colours should not be seen as trouble,” he said, after condemning the police for instructing Terene members who would attend Tšehlana’s funeral to not wear their gang insignia.

Caswell Tlali

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