The Kweneng District Council this week passed three motions tabled by Mmopane and Metsimotlhabe Councillors.
The Councillor for Mmopane, Phagenyana O’Brien Phage’s first motion requested the Council to ask the Kweneng Land Board to retract from its current practise where, before they allocate applicants, they ensure how far the applied plot is from another Kweneng region. A radius of 60 kilometres between centres is considered the maximum.
He explained that with this practise, should the Land Board find that an applicant residing in Kweneng wants to apply in a region that is less than that distance from where they reside then the application won’t be considered.
This policy, he said, was unfair as most of the regions in the Kweneng are within this distance. It, therefore, leaves Kweneng District residents in the lurch.
“Those applicants from the North of the country are going to flock in and benefit from this. Ultimately, Mogoditshane, the urban centre in Kweneng, will be occupied by people from faraway places,” he said.
In his second motion, Phage asked the Council to request the Kweneng Land Board to come up with a policy that would rule that in every allocation they make, 50 percent of the residential plots allocated be for the tribe of that particular area.
“I am not tribalistic, neither am I xenophobic. I am saying this having learnt from what happened to Tlokweng where 75 percent of the plots were allocated to those from outside the district. What is likely to happen under such circumstances is that the tribe will end up being out-numbered by people from outside. Something that may come with far-reaching consequences like the dying of such tribe’s culture,” reasoned Phage.
Asked what he says about the fact that people allocated plots amongst their tribesman often sell them, rendering the policy fruitless, he said policy should rule that change of plot ownership can only be done after the plot owner has owned it for 15 years.
Metsimotlhabe Councillor, Sephuthi Thelo’s motion requested that, “This Council provides licenses for tuck-shop.”
The motion was lengthily debated, as Councillors were at a loss as to whether there have all along been no licences for tuck shops in Kweneng district. The pilot of the motion explained that there is no licence for tuck shops and that the licenses people used in the past at the inception of the programmes like SMEs were, in fact, vending licenses and, or hawkers licenses. Holders of such licences, he said, were informed after paying for them that they should not use them for tuck-shops.
It called for the interference of expertise and the Council Legal Advisor, Yamikani Patson, explained that it was a mistake for the Council to have issued vending licences to the tuck-shop owners. Vending license permits its holders to sell at an area where s/he does not have control over. Tuck-shop holders have control over where they operate from. Tuck-shops were not even kiosks as one of the councillors, Handsome Nowebb, suggested.
Since other Councillors asked whether the Trade Act could not help, he explained that the Act does not apply in businesses done at home. The by-laws could be amended to remedy the mistake.
One of the Councillors moved that the motion be held in abeyance so the members could have more information on how various terms defining the business types so that they take an informed decision to reject or adopt the motion.
Asked for advice, the Council Secretary, Wazha Tema, said the Councillors should have done research for the motion since they had long been given the meeting’s agenda. The agenda had to continue.
“The fact that the Council has been operating that way does not mean it is right thing to do,” concluded Patson when asked to further clarify the legal stand of the motion.
Ultimately the motion was passed. All the pilots are from the Botswana Congress Party.