Saturday, September 19, 2020

BDC employee fights corporation, subsidiary over land sale

The Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has sold its employee a donga for over P470, 000 through its subsidiary Malutu Enterprises (Pty) Ltd and allegedly expects her to build a home from there or, better still, engage in farming.

The sale of the 100 plots at Lion Park Small Holdings took place in 2006.

The corporation sold its Principal Accountant, Masego Phetlhu, the donga, which is a ditch formed by the erosion of soil, on 7 August 2006. This was after the BDC had come to its staff dangling a carrot in the form of a management recommendation to set up a temporary loan facility to enable employees to purchase plots measuring four hectares at its Lion Park Small Holding south of Gaborone.

The BDC had not responded to enquiries by the Sunday Standard by the time of going to press.
For five years, Phetlhu and her husband, Dithuso Phetlhu – a geotechnical engineer who made the gruesome find, have been fighting the corporation from deep inside the donga that they are forced to construct a home or run an agribusiness that they have now taken the legal route. All the same, the BDC has been deducting monthly payments of P7150.49 towards her P474, 205.05 loan. The BDC had instructed staff to pay their loans within a period of 12 months.

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.

An 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.

Dumped in a donga and the BDC unwillingness to compensate them or provide another portion of land, husband and wife are dragging the BDC to court. Their case could be heard as early as April.
Petlhu’s lawyer, Kgalalelo Monthe, said he was not at liberty to disclose client information but confirmed that he is handling such a case.

An input from Enviro Solve Consultancy managing director, Gaogakwe Ikgopoleng, over the controversial sale is that the BDC has deviated from an approved layout by selling an open space as an agricultural holding, first and second respondents respectively, failed to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment with the provisions of the EIA Act of 2005. There was no Environmental Management Plan, no Flood Assessment study carried out, and no Archaeological Impact Assessment.

She argues despite the above, the BDC applied to develop the piece of land (the donga that she has been sold) and was rejected by the Department of Town and Regional Planning.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.