Saturday, May 21, 2022

BDC considers settlement with employee it sold donga

Judge Abednico Tafa on Monday postponed to next month a case in which a Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) employee has dragged the corporation before Lobatse High Court for selling her a donga from where she has to build a retirement home.

This came after Judge Tafa was notified by Collins and Newman law firm representing the corporation and Kgalalelo Monthe representing the corporation’s Principal Accountant, Masego Phetlhu that both parties┬áwere considering a settlement.

Malutu Enterprises (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of the BDC, sold Phetlhu a donga on 7 August 2006 for over P470 0000 and expected her to build a retirement home from it. The Corporation said Plot 113 it allocated Phetlhu was a river frontage while it acts as a breather to decongest the area at farm Crocodile Pools for pollutants to pass and to keep in line with environmental principles. The portion is also animal corridor.

Enviro Solve Consultancy managing director, Gaogakwe Ikgopoleng, who is an expert witness over the controversial sale, says BDC has deviated from an approved layout plan approved by the Minister of Lands and Housing, dated 3 October 2005, covering Crocodile Pools No. 15-KO, which includes Plot 113 by selling an open space as an agricultural holding.

According to Ikgopoleng, there was no Environmental Management Plan, no Flood Assessment study carried out and no Archaeological Impact Assessment.

According to the approved lay out plan, portion 113 has been dezoned as an open space and not agricultural holding.

Phetlhu is one of the people who bought the 100 plots sold for P27 million by Malutu Enterprises (Pty) together with its then shareholder Murton Pty (Ltd) – owned by President Ian Khama, Judge David Newman and businessman Charles Sheldon in 2006.

The plot 113 is a portion used as an open space as approved by the Town and Country Planning Board ÔÇô a statutory body mandated to control development in the country.

The environmentalist says according to the approved layout for Farm Crocodile Pools where Phetlhu was allegedly misled to purchase a donga has been zoned as an open space and not an agricultural holding. Hers is a part of an open space that stretches along the river separating all proposed plots from the river. It is part of a flood plain located within a waterway that drains into Notwane River.

The BDC subsidiary failed to conduct a Management Plan, Flood Assessment study and an Archaeological Impact Assessment.

By selling her the plot, Malutu Enterprises, according to the environmental expert, relied on an Environmental Impact Assessment Report that was done for Gaborone Dam Catchment Area in 2003 and not specifically for farm Crocodile Pools.

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