The government is alleged to have stopped providing social services, such Ipelegeng programme (drought relief program) and food rations, to residents of Ranyane who are under the Social Welfare Service progamme, information reaching The Telegraph has revealed.
In an interview, former councillor for the area, Paul Freddy Mokgethisi, confirmed the allegations, saying that government had terminated Ipelegeng on the basis that “there were no projects to be done at Ranyane”.
He added that the authorities, among them Ministers, are addressing a string of Kgotla meetings as a last resort to coerce residents to relocate.
“They have also threatened the residents that the borehole that they draw water from will soon be handed to its rightful owners by the government,” said Mokgethisi.
The Ghanzi District Council Secretary referred this publication to Government spokesmen Dr. Jeff Ramsay.
“There haven’t been cut off of any service. What is happening is that an assessment is being done regarding the Ipelegeng programme,” said Ramsay.
Mokgethisi’s comments come at time when Ranyane residents, through their lawyer Onalethata Kambai of Kambai Attorneys, have taken up the matter with the Attorney General Chambers.
“On the 3rd day of July 2013, around 1800hrs, our clients telephonically informed us that a certain officer by the name Binang (surname unknown) from Hukuntsi Sub District Council came to Ranyane and met the Headman of Arbitration and some village elders where she made…announcements,” ┬ástate the lawyers in a letter. The letter adds that Binang had been instructed by her superiors to announce that commencing 4th of July 2013 all residents of Ranyane engaged in Social Services (drought relief) (Ipelegeng) programmes must immediately stop or they are stopped from discharging services under the Ipelegeng Program. She is also alleged to have informed residents that the District Council will not provide any food rations to residents of Ranyane who are under the Social Welfare Service/program.
The lawyers are of the view that the authorities, if they intend to terminate provision of Social Services or programs, proper consultation/engagement with residents affected should be done at a proper forum being the Kgotla. “We respectively submit that the authorities ought to provide reasons or some explanation before taking such adverse decision. In addition, the authorities ought to give the affected residents sufficient notice of their intended decision,” state the lawyers.
“We would also refer to the Court order of 18th June 2013 with respect to the above stated case, paragraph 4 thereof, which states that ‘nothing in this Order shall prevent provisions of food rations and other social services to the residents of Ranyane.”
Unless the contrary is proven, the lawyers say, the announcement by Binang of Hukuntsi Sub District Council, contravenes the court order.
“…We urge your office to expedite the veracity or reason of the above allegations as a matter of urgency for an amicable solution of this matter,” says the lawyers.
The lawyers state that in their engagement with Ghanzi District Attorney, he informed them that he experienced difficulties in his attempt to deal with the matter since Binang is with Hukuntsi District Council and that he is not familiar with the said Binang.
Replying, Ludo Nancy Mbusi of the Attorney General Chambers states that “kindly be informed that we are still trying to get instructions from our client as the identity of officer Binang is still vague.”
She states that the initial instruction the AGs got is that there is no Ipelegeng in Ranyane; the residents of Ranyane who have been or are in the Ipelegeng program are hired in Metsimantsho and the program is run and it has not stopped.
She added that the food rations have not been stopped too.
“As for the court order, we understand it to mean that officers who provide food rations and other social services to the residents of Ranyane do have access to the residents and their access shall not be deemed as invasion of privacy and not that it compels officers to provide rations and other social services,” says Mbusi.