Sunday, January 17, 2021

Clash over land use mars allocation of Kanye plots

The allocation of more than 7,000 residential plots in Kanye Village could be aborted following conflict between the Ngwaketsi Tribal Authority, district land board and council over land use.

The plots, which are marred in controversy, occupy the 1.2 kilometers of land from Mmakgodumo area, belonging to Ngwaketsi Tribal Authority.

The clash over land use has emerged after the tribal authority’s claim that the 1.2 km land forms part of Mmakgodumo – an area designated to be a tourism destination, while the district council and land board maintain that the land is for residential purposes.

The authority has made it clear that they will push for the allocations to be turned back to allow for tourism developments in Mmakgodumo area, which is slated for development into a Wild life and National Park.

The Principal Land Officer in the Ngwaketsi Land Board, Gotewamang Shatera, said the tribal authority has the right to stop the allocations because the district leadership, among them the land board, Council and the Department of Wild Life, agreed that the 1.2 km land should be reserved as part of Mmakgodumo.

He said contrary to the agreement, the land board allowed the district council to develop it for residential plots.

Shatera noted that the board did not consult other district leaders before developing the area into a settlement.

“It didn’t even consult me as an adviser on issues of land use,” said the Land officer.

At press time, Kgosi Malope was not available to comment, and the present tribal leaders assigned a member of Bathoeng Sanctuary Trust, Pointius Mokgosana, to attend to Sunday Standard questions.
The tribal authority formed the trust to oversee the tourism developments in Kanye.

Mokgosana complained that the land board has a tendency of not consulting affected parties on issues of land use, a situation which has created land use clashes in the district. He said the land board never consulted them when retracting their agreement that the 1.2 km land should form part of Mmakgodumo. He added that with enough evidence showing that the land still belongs to the tribal authority, they will stop the allocation of residential plots.

Efforts to interview the Land Board secretary proved futile.

However, the district Council Chairman, Leach Tlhomelang, said that, to his knowledge, the land board and council had initially disagreed to offer the tribal authority the extension of 1.2 km land they required.

“We told them that it is impossible to offer them an extension, due to acute shortage of land in Kanye. Land allocations will never be turned back,” he said.

Ngwaketsi Land Board is reported to have a backlog of more than 11,000 pending land applications. Tlhomelang said the 1.2 km land is expected to relieve the board from the backlog.

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