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Ranyane Residents die as they await justice

Eight months on, Basarwa still waiting for court order

Former area Councillor of Ranyane, Paul Mokgethisi who led his tribesmen and women to the Gaborone High Court to seek justice died this week, before he could know the fate of his people.


The residents wanted government, particularly the Gantsi District Council to restore the services that were terminated when they were forced to resettle. The first people, wanted among other things, the drought Relief programme, water, the mobile clinic to be returned to their ancestral land.


Some of them came to Gaborone for the very first time in 2014. Penniless and having to crowd in a single room after being driven more than a thousand kilometres on an open barkie, the tribe people were only driven by hope, the hope that their tales of sorrow would be heard and settled within a reasonable period.


Just like the Basarwa of the Central Kalahari Game reserve who won the resettlement case through the high court, Mokgethisi believed they would emerge victorious.


“The court would settle this dispute. This is a political game by the ruling party and top government officials to drive us out of this land. We know that they are eyeing the land and want to divide it into farms amongst themselves,” Mokgethisi had accused the government during an interview outside court in December 2014.


At that time, Justice Terrence Rannowane had postponed the case judgment to a later date. Eight Months have now gone by, and the judge is yet to deliberate on the case.


Rannowane’s Secretary told Weekend Post this week that they were still working on the judgement and would not tell when it would be out.


“Sometimes the cases are delayed due to the Judge’s workload and sometimes it is because the case requires a lot of work and research,” the Secretary explained.


However she declined to discuss the Ranyane case and said only parties involved in the matter can be responded to.


However Onalethata Kambai, an attorney who represented the Ranyane residents in the matter said he had long written an enquiry letter to the Registrar office regarding the judgment’s delay and he had not received any response.


“We have not received any response despite repeated follow ups and people continue to suffer as a result. When Judgment is delivered everyone can be sure of their rights and obligations,” Kambai explained.
According to Kambai, three of the applicants have since died awaiting judgement.


Meanwhile the Gantsi District Council is using the delayed judgment as an excuse to continue denying the people clean water and other services and the people continue to suffer as a result.  In fact even the mobile clinic which used to operate in Ranyane during the case hearing has now been stopped.


The Council insists that Ranyane is a wildlife area and not for human habitation.


The Council stopped all its free services which are normally extended to all communities in 2012 after it declared Ranyane an illegal settlement. The people were then advised to relocate to other neighbouring settlements including Bere and Metsimantsho.
Mokgethisi was the former area Councillor and an active member of the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF).

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It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

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Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

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