Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Khama’s empty promises exposed

President Lt Gen Ian Khama made empty promises to Batswana when he announced in his first State of the Nation Address that Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) will re-introduce the tenant purchase scheme to help citizens acquire houses.
In what appears to have been a political point scoring gimmick meant to curry favour with electorates, the president is falling to put his money where his mouth is.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Housing, Thato Raphaka told the Public Accounts Committee this week that BHC cannot introduce the tenant purchase scheme as promised by the president because the corporation does not have the money.
Raphaka informed the committee that BHC needs P600 million to introduce the scheme.┬á He said currently it is not viable for the corporation to introduce the housing scheme. Raphaka further stated that they were aware that many Batswana are unable to buy┬áBHC houses because they are expensive. He said that there was a Presidential Directive to the effect that there is a need for other possible alternatives for tenant purchase scheme. “It has not been possible. BHC needs money to build houses around the country and they will not realize the profits if they introduce the┬átenant purchase scheme,” said Raphaka.┬á
┬áIn an earlier interview with Sunday Standard a Sociology lecturer at ┬áUniversity of Botswana, Dr Onalenna Selolwane argued that some promises that are made during the State of the Nation Address are ┬ámeant to score political points. ┬áSelolwane noted when responding to Botswana Congress Party review on Khama’s┬áfirst term. BCP had indicated that Khama had failed to deliver on his promises after he stated that there is need to provide decent housing to citizenry. She slammed┬áKhama’s housing appeal, saying it will not solve the problem of adequate and affordable housing for Batswana.┬á
Selolwane indicated during the interview that Khama should be spearheading a policy that will provide decent housing to the populace that has no access to housing. She said the President has now usurped the role of NGOs by asking for donations to address the problem of housing. Selolwane emphasized that the President should not be at the helm of begging at this moment. “But he should come up with a plan that will solve the problem because there is a sizeable number of people who have no decent housing in the country.” Selolwane further advised that the government should┬áfacilitate a system where Batswana will be able to afford to buy and build decent housing.
She further argued that it does not make sense to allocate Batswana plots that remain undeveloped because there is no policy that helps them to build decent housing.
 She questioned the wisdom of allocating plots to citizens while the government knows well that many people cannot afford to develop them. Selolwane further stated that the government should have long devised and put in place a policy meant to help Batswana to build decent housing. She said that people end selling land because it is the only asset they have. 

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