Land Tribunal President, Phetsolo Nare, last week upheld an appeal filed by Francistown lawyer, Phadza Kgalemang, who was appealing against the Ngwato Land Board’s decision to turn down his application for a ranch because he already has one.
When passing judgment, Nare said that the Ngwato Land Board should have looked at Kgalemang’s application from the perspective of equity. He said that the fact that Kgalemang had already acquired a ranch for himself from the open market should not disqualify him from entitlement to a free ranch.
He said that inequity would have arisen if Kgalemang had been allocated two free ranches when there are several other competent persons who may equally use the other ranch productively. Nare also said that there are certain socio economic rights that must be extended to, and enjoyed by all citizens equally regardless of their social status, class, or level of effluence.
“For example, in Botswana all citizens are entitled to the same old age allowance upon reaching the age of 60 years, regardless of their wealth or the availability of any other pension scheme that they have arranged privately. So it is illogical to deny Kgalemang a free ranch for the simple reason that he worked hard to earn himself an extra ranch on his own. It is a known fact that human beings can never be economically equal even if they are given equal opportunities,” he said.
Nare also ruled that Kgalemang should not be punished for being industrious and prudent cattle rancher under the disguised name of equity.
In discharging its mandate, said Nare, the Land Board should have understood Kgalemang application in light of how the market economy operates.
On the issue of land allocation freeze that the Land Board brought up, Nare said that the freeze had indeed taken too long and that the Land Board has not furnished a plausible explanation for the delay. The Ngwato Land Board has since filed an appeal.