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Secure land title a milestone – Masisi

This week saw President Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Neo Masisi receiving their first Secure Land Title (SLT) certificate from Ngwaketse Land Board. A huge milestone in Botswana’s Land Sector.

The new certificate replaces the old Customary Land Grand certificate which has been issued by Land Boards since 1970 following their establishment. When officiating at the launch of the SLT in Moshupa, Masisi highlighted; “My Government recognizes robust and transparent Land Administration as a tool for advancing economic development.

We are confident that these land reforms we are implementing will unlock the true potential and economic value of Tribal Land.”  He went on to state that “the reforms include: The review and implementation of the National Land Policy of 2015 as amended in 2019; Tribal Land Act of 2018; and, Deeds Registry (Amendment) Act of 2017.”

The event marked the completion of a journey that started in 2009 with a partner driven cooperation with the Kingdom of Sweden, called improvement of the Land Administration Procedures, Capacity and System (LAPCAS) Programme. The programme objectives center around ensuring successful social and economic development of the nation of Botswana based on efficient, effective and transparent Land Administration.

Masisi proudly mentioned that the new certificate was a realization of the 2019 BDP manifesto. He said; “Consistent with the Botswana Democratic Party 2019 election manifesto, we remain undeterred to fulfil our pledge to change the current land tenure system under the tribal land grant that limits and affords the majority of Batswana only use rights.

We will neither slumber nor sleep, until comprehensive legislative and policy review confers rightful ownership over pieces of land that Batswana own, according them owners’ rights to such land, which they may use as security to unlock opportunities”.

Land Boards are now obliged to register grants at Deeds Registry when they allocate land for both residential and business uses. This means that Land Boards will bear the cost of surveying and submitting to Deeds Registry, drastically reducing costs incurred by the citizen.

Masisi emphasized that Batswana will now directly use the Secure Land Title as security or collateral to access financial assistance from financial institutions. Thus, unlocking the economic potential of the Tribal Land.

In line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution; the reforms mentioned, are anchored into a multi-platform computer system called the Land information System (LIS). It is in this system where all land delivery processes take place until the final printing of the SLT at Deeds Registry. Masisi also challenged those that will be administering the associated IT support services and infrastructure to make “System e Down” a thing of the past.

When giving a historical background on the Land Management Sector. Masisi highlighted that it went through a number of stages. He said “in the pre-colonial era, we had a single land tenure managed by Dikgosi and we kept no land records. During Protectorate years, three tenure system was introduced. However, Tribal Land remained unregistrable while Freehold and State Land then known as Crown Land were registered in the Deeds Office located in Mafikeng by then.”

He jogged the memory of attendees stating that at independence, Botswana maintained the three-tenure system and in 1970, Land Boards were established through the Tribal Land Act of 1968 and Land Boards took over the management of Tribal Land.

Customary Land Grants still remained unregistrable and one had to convert their Customary Grant to Common Law Lease if they want to register at Deeds. The keeping of records remained a challenge due to lack of robust records management tools and systems.

These challenges are said to have been compounded by the fact that Land boards continued to allocate un-surveyed land and the Deeds Registry did not recognize Customary Land Grants as registrable rights. The manner in which Tribal Land was managed gave the impression that Tribal Land Grants, in particular Customary Land Grants were inferior to Freehold and State Land tenures.

Kgosi Donald Kgabosetso II Mosielele, raised a concern that the Tribal land boards takes delay in allocating land thus leading to mushrooming of squatters. In response the Minister of Lands and Water Affairs Dr. Kefentse Mzwinila said to accelerate the process of land allocations, the Ministry is still combing through waiting lists after the realization that most people who are on the list already have land which goes against their policy of allocating 1 person with at least 1 plot in tribal land and 1 plot in state land.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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