Friday, January 28, 2022

Hundreds of Kanye residents face eviction

The Southern District Council has appealed to the Minister of Lands and Housing, Nonofo Molefhi, to prevent the looming eviction of 400 residents who have been declared squatters in Kanye.

This came to light during the Ngwaketsi district leadership negotiations to decide the fate of the residents. 

The Council, which opposes the eviction, has requested the Ministry of Lands and Housing to save the residents. It is understood the Ngwaketsi Land Board will go ahead to enforce a court ruling giving it power to eject the residents.

The appeal for ministerial intervention in the matter came after negotiations last week reportedly stalled with the land board and district leadership failing to reach common ground. The Board insists that the residential plots in Goo Seno land should be demolished because they were granted without its authority and approval.

According to Board Secretary, Gosego Kgosimore, following the unapproved granting of the land by the Goo Seno chief, some residents began to take responsibility for land allocation.

Kgosimore said the High Court had ruled against the residents, ordering the board to eject them for acquiring the land without approval from the land board.

“It ruled that the residents are guilty of an offence and apart from eviction an alternative penalty is to fine the residents P10 000 each,” he said. The Secretary added that according to Land Board Act the squatters are also┬á liable to imprisonment for one year or a fine of P20 000, if┬á the┬á offender┬á is┬á a┬á corporate┬á body.

When defending the residents, Southern District Council Chairman, Leach Tlhomelang, said even though the Court had ruled in favour of the Land Board, it has made invalid arguments during negotiations. The Board does not consider Goo Seno as a settlement area because it has less than 500 residents who were initially given residential plots in the area before land grant powers were transferred from Chiefs to Land Boards.

However, Tlhomelang made it clear that Council planners have included Goo Seno land in Kanye’s map, therefore making it one big settlement of Kanye village.

“The Ngwaketsi Land Board should stop harassing Goo Seno residents because they are like any other residents in other serviced residential places of Kanye,” said Tlhomelang.

Meanwhile, it has emerged during negotiations that the land board is threatening legal action against the council as it considers the move to include Goo Seno in Kanye’s map as an attempt to buffer the residents from evacuation. It is also reported to be accusing the council for encouraging squatting in Kanye by providing services in the area not zoned for residential plots.

The Department of Lands in the Ministry confirmed that after assessing the complaint and a report from the ongoing negotiations the Minister will decide the fate of the residents towards the end of this year.

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