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Court of Appeal to hear Balete land case

On Tuesday, 24 January 2023, the Botswana Court of Appeal will hear an appeal brought by the Attorney General and the Registrar of Deeds (Appellants) challenging the judgment of a full bench of the High Court delivered on 21 May 2022.

The High Court ruled that the Ba-Gamalete Tribe were the rightful owners of Forest Hill Farm. The case relates to a long-standing dispute between the parties regarding the inclusion of Forest Hill in the Bamalete Tribal Territory.

The Tribe had sought recognition of the Tribe’s ownership over their land and challenged the constitutionality of the legislative scheme relating to tribal land. The High Court judgment emphasised that the Constitution entrenched the right not to be deprived of property without compensation. The High Court noted that the Land Board did not attempt to follow the Constitution or the Acquisition of Property Act when it tried to obtain the Tribe’s title deed land.

The government argues that the Court of Appeal had already determined the ownership of Forest Hill Farm in a previous case and that the High Court had no jurisdiction to re-open the matter. The Ba-Gamalete Tribe, represented by its female chief Kgosi Mosadi Seboko opposes the appeal and supports the High Court’s judgment.

The Tribe disagrees with the High Court’s failure to address the Tribe’s constitutional challenge, which concerns the violation of the Tribe’s equality rights by the legislative scheme. Sadly, the Court of Appeal struck out the Tribe’s cross-appeal against the High Court decision. The Tribe will make oral arguments opposing the appeal during the hearing.

“This case demonstrates how colonial legacies of land dispossession have persisted in Africa. Similar to colonial powers, post-colonial States continue to use various schemes, including legislation, to take away land from Africans,” says Brigadier Siachitema from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) which supports the case. “This case is even worse because Forest Hill is privately registered property. The only reason the Ba-Gamalete have been denied the security of tenure and the protection other freehold owners enjoy in Botswana is that they are a Tribe, showing clear discrimination in how land is managed.”

BACKGROUND
In 1925, the Ba-Gamalete Tribe used their resources to buy the Forest Hill Farm for grazing purposes and have managed and controlled it ever since. Neither the colonial government nor the Republic ever exercised any ownership or management regarding the farm.

In the High Court, the Land Board contended that the Tribal Land Act of 1970 and the Tribal Territories Act of 1933 vested all rights and titles to land in tribal areas in Land Boards. The Act was amended in 1973 to include the Farm owned by the Tribe. The Malete Land Board accordingly sought a court order cancelling the Deed of Transfer in favour of the Gamalete Development Trust in respect of Forest Hill.

In the High Court, the Tribe opposed the Land Board’s application because the law on tribal land, if correctly interpreted, cannot be construed to remove their ownership of Forest Hill Farm. The Tribe bought and owned the farm, which does not fall within the definition of tribal territory in the Acts. If the Tribe’s farm vested in the Land Board, it would mean that the land the Tribe had purchased with its resources could be taken from them and given to a statutory body without compensation. Such an interpretation would mean that the legislative scheme treats the civil rights of tribes and their members less favourably than the treatment of non-tribal citizens, on the sole ground of their membership in a tribe.

Motlhala Ketshabile & Company, Rantao Attorneys, Adv Geoff Budlender SC and Adv Mitchell de Beer represent the Tribe, with support from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

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.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

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.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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