The Land Tribunal on Tuesday and Wednesday heard applications made by hundreds of rejected land seekers who had unsuccessfully applied for the three hundred and eighty five (385) Malete Land Board advertised plots in 2013.
The applicants were rejected on the basis that they ‘did not give a descriptive answer’ in the application forms.
At the hearing, it surfaced that some applicants were unfairly rejected as some were rejected for not stating their nationality but attached copies of their Omang. The Court heard from the Malete Board Chairperson that many did not provide answers to some questions as per the requirements.
The Court also heard from both parties that the Land Board did not grant the petitioners a hearing when they sought answers over the meaning of the phrase ‘did not give a descriptive answer’ which appered in their rejection letters. The petitioners argued that their applications were collected and verified by a collecting officer who told them that the forms were correctly filled.
The presiding judge, Sampa Kaisara in her remarks, accused the Land Board Chairperson of violating the principle of natural justice by not affording the complainants a hearing when they came seeking clarification at his offices. The Board Chairperson said that it was impossible to give all of them a hearing, a response that shocked the panel of three judges.
The court gave the petitioners renewed hope when it ruled that the Land Board should go back and relook its mistakes and reconsider the applications. The Land Board however requested the judges to remind the complaints that remmitance of the case back to the Land Board doesn’t mean they are going to the be allocated the plots. The judge however refused, reasoning that it may as well be the case given the merits and demerits of the case.
“In case any of the parties feel aggrieved by the decisions of another party in the proposed meeting,the Tribunal will be available to mediate,” said the judge. The Malete Land Board said they will afford the complainants their right to be heard within a space of two months, further adding that they curently have a lot on their plate.
The Land Board leadership said they were forced to disqualify some deserving people who did not provide descriptive answers to key questions. This, they said was done even after relaxing a few requirements to accommodate those at fault.
Notwithstanding this, the Land Board Secretary, Ikgopoleng Shabani has decided to allocate the successful applicants their plots at the end of July or before that. “We have shortlisted some applicants and have been conducting interviews and audits into our actions,” she said.
The Gamalete plots application process nearly caused a stampede as many came out in large numbers from all corners of the country to seek the elusive resource. Police were called in to control the situation as people threatened to storm the Land Board offices. Hundreds of them are reported to have spent the entire fateful night at the offices.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.