Thursday, May 6, 2021

Gov’t moves to block foreigners from acquiring land

The Botswana Government, under the new land policy has taken a deliberate decision to make it very difficult for foreigners to acquire land in the country, minister responsible for lands and housing Prince Maele said Tuesday.

“We have deliberately made it stringent for Batswana to sell their land to foreigners. Foreigners are going to have hard times buying land from Batswana as the new land policy encourages them to give fellow Batswana priority should they find need to sell their land,” Maele said.

In order to facilitate land management in the country, Parliament approved the Botswana Land Policy during the July 2015 session and its implementation is said to have commenced. Maele says the aim of the policy, among others, is to emphasise on access to housing without necessarily owning a plot, promote and protect land rights as well as promote equity in access to land.

“There are numerous cases of transfers and ultimate sale of land, we however advise Batswana to either return it or be placed in a priority list or lease it out. Land speculation is none other disease that we have to grapple with. Land has slowly been turned into a commodity that can be traded as and when one is broke.”

Meanwhile the government says it has, under the access to land program allocated a total of 9148 plots by different land authorities out of the targeted 22 000 for this financial year. At the same time, the land registration exercise known as LAPCAS is said to be ongoing albeit at a snail pace.

“The benefits of this registration are that, land parcels will have unique identity. We will know who owns what and where, plots will be surveyed at Government’s costs and boundaries ascertained which will reduce multiple allocations and land conflicts. And surveyed plots will provide land holders with security of tenure,” Maele noted.

Although Sunday Standard could not establish the private company that has been engaged to do the exercise, Maele confirmed Tuesday that the process has been outsourced at a cost of P430 million.

At the same time, Maele further revealed that the government will engage private companies through the Private-Public-Partnerships to service land as well as provision of housing.

“This is intended to accelerate the pace of providing access to serviced land and housing by the private sector. We have consequently identified four areas for piloting the PP strategy (Kgatleng, Kasane, Ramotswa and Francistown) involving 7509 plots for bulk servicing.”

The government is said to be targeting a minimum of 29430 plots across the country to service during the coming financial years.

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