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Land Tribunal orders demolition of Masitara’s property

Masitara's structures in Tlokweng are illegal

The land tribunal has ruled against former Member of Parliament, Robert Masitara and his Wife, Poloko in a case in which they had taken the South East District Council to the Land Tribunal appealing a decision by the Council to demolish some of the structures he had built in his Tlokweng Forensic Investigation and residence multimillion yard.


The Council had ordered Masitara to clean up the mess in 2011 when conducting a familiarisation tour in Tlokweng for new members after learning that the structures, paving, car pots-overhanging car shades, steel support structure and nets as well as Chains mounted on pillars were constructed without permission.


The Council said that no planning permission was ever granted to Masitara nor was it ever requested for by him for the said developments.Masitara said that he understood that they ought to have obtained permission to construct the structures adding that they recieved a letter instructing them to remove the developments whilst he was in the process of applying for permission to regularise the developments.

Masitara further pleaded that he be allowed to keep the strucures whilst he applies for permission to regularise the structures. He further pleaded that the structures be left intact and if Council wants to undertake any developments in the area, he would remove them.


Masitara rubbished the Council’s suggestions that the structures were obstructing or posing any form of threat to other road users further adding that the has removed some which were said to be obstructing people.He continued that some people actualy utilise the shades for shelter from the sun and rain.


The Council however argued that Masitara ‘s constructions were illegal and that they were dangerously in a road reserve in front of his plot, this being an area where Masitara had no land rights. They said the developments compromised the safety and visibility of motorists. They further argued that during the day, pedestrians are forced onto the tarmac further saying that Masitara ‘s plot is located where visibility is compromised as it is a curved area.


The Council further argued that government has introduced guidelines for small and medium enterprises which provide for activities that can be carried out within residential plots without licencing. The condition,they said, is that the activity should not lead to change of land use and that the land should remain dorminantly used for residential purpose.The South East Council further accused Masitara of using a residential plot for business,an accusation Masitara refuted saying the only house used as an office was the house in front.


In handing down the judgement, Sampa  Kaisara, the tribunal president, said it is common cause that Tlokweng has been declared a Planning Area in terms of the Town and Country Planning Act which means that the provisions of the Act apply in the area.


 “In terms of the Act the Council is empowered to undertake duties in furtherance of the objectives of the Act.The main objective is to make provision for the orderly development of land in both urban and rural areas and to preserve and improve the amenities thereof,” he said.


He said in accordance with the Act,no development will be permitted in the area without planning permission having been granted.He ruled that the developments were illegal as they were constrcuted contrary to the provisions of the said Act.


“In addition,the developmets in questions lie within a road reserve of tarred public road in front of Masitara’s plot.A road reserve is an area which provides for facilities like pedestrian ways, as well as lines for water, power, telecommunications, sewer or storm water,” he said, further adding that no private or individual developments are allowed within the road reserve.


“Accordingly, the court finds that it would be improper to allow Masitara’s developments in the road reserve as it would obstruct pedestrians and provision of utilities,” said the president in handing down the judgement.
The court ruled that Masitara’s developments are illegal and ordered him to remove the develoments within 30 days from yesterday (Friday).


The court however saved Masitara’s pavements, allowing him 60 days to obtain planning permission to regularise the paving developments in the disputed area.The court further ruled that should Masitara fail to remove the disputed developments,the Council should remove them and claim the costs of doing so from Masitara.

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Boko’s rivals plan new party

15th August 2022

Following their loss to the Duma Boko-led lobby in the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s national congress last month, some members of the party are reportedly considering forming a new political party.

According to members, the new party will be formed after they receive a tip-off that the BNF will do all it can to ensure that the aggrieved members do not participate in the 2024 national elections. This will reportedly done through a carefully orchestrated primary elections elimination campaign. 

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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