EVERYONE WANTS A PIECE OF LAND IN KGATLENG: Its always chaos when Land Board invite the public for applications
Thousands of land seekers who recently applied for residential plots in the Kgatleng District may never get allotted the plots as the waiting period in that District has been increased to over one hundred years.
Information reaching WeekendPost suggests that since the Land Board re-opened applications in November last year following a ten-year freeze, it has received an overwhelming one hundred and sixty thousand (160 000) new applications against zero free tribal land.
According to the Land Board, which has been allocating around eight hundred plots annually due to shortage of free tribal land, the allocations would only resume “when” the land becomes available.
When the District full Council meeting opened this week in Mochudi, the Kgatleng Land Board had no good news for applicants as it confirmed that it is struggling to find free tribal land.
The District Council’s Chairperson, Mpho Morolong confirmed that the situation is so serious that the Land Board managed to allocate about six hundred and fifty plots in the whole of the last financial year which comes to an end in 31 March, 2015.
“Availability of plots for development in Kgatleng is still a challenge as people wait for a long time to be allocated plots. This financial year, Kgatleng land Board had planned to allocate one thousand and thirty (1030) plots but so far only 648 plots have been allocated,” explained Morolong.
Morolong added that the seriousness of the situation has been exacerbated by field owners who refuse to give back fields to the land Board but prefer selling them to private property owners who pay at market prices.
In 2004, the Kgatleng Land Board froze new applications for residential plots due to shortage of land. It took it more than ten years to reduce the waiting list and decided to lift the decision in November last year, not because plots were available, but partly due to political pressure so as to give people hope.
When the applications were re-opened, multitudes descended at Oodi Sub Land Board which received the most applications of one hundred and twelve thousand (112 000). So desperate were the applicants, mostly youth from the District and the capital city Gaborone and surrounding areas that they spent a night queuing hoping to top the waiting list.
Says Morolong, “The applications were frozen for quite a long time and it appears we are facing a serious land problem now. For years we have been calling on the Land Board to accept applications, but it decided to wait.”
His deputy, Stephen Makhura is equally worried that the land problem in Kgatleng has taken an ugly turn.
“This is a warning bell to government that this is a time bomb. We are no longer only sitting in Mochudi, but the greater Gaborone. The shortage of land will lead to civil unrest and be riots and there will be squatters,” Makhura said.
He suggested that the Land Board be called to the ongoing full Council meeting in Mochudi to explain how it plans to issue land to the 160 000 people who are eagerly waiting to be serviced.
While some Councillors suggested that it was high time the Land Board developed meaningful policies to address the problem, many other desperate individuals continue to fall prey to fraudulent land deals as they try bribe their way to the top of the waiting list.
This week the Ministry of Lands and Housing issued a warning to members of the public about certain people or syndicates who are swindling people of their hard earned cash under the pretext that they can allocate them land faster.
“These people claim to be officials of the Land Boards or Department of Lands who are willing to amongst others assist the public in speeding up their land allocations, showing of beacons, extension of plot development period and purchasing of repossessed plots,” explained the chief Public Relations officer in the Ministry, Simon Malete.
According to Malete these unscrupulous people usually demand certain amounts to be paid to them as deposit or security of the deal and they would disappear into thin air.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.