Land Boards are in the process of reverting to the re-allocation of all undeveloped plots country wide, following the new land management system which is expected to increase government capacity to enforce land development contract.
This is according to Ngwaketsi Land Board Public Relations Officer, John Motsatsing, who indicated that Improved Land Adjudication, Procedures and Capacity System (LAPCAS), which is on pilot, will help land boards to identify plots which were not developed within the period stipulated by the land development contract. According to the agreement, after reallocation land should be developed within 5 years for residential plots, 3 years for fields and 3 years for ranches.
Motsatsing said in addition to undeveloped plots, they intend to identify the squatters and also investigate people with suspicious land ownership rights. He said in all the cases Land Boards will take appropriate actions. “Of course, we will repossess undeveloped land and evacuate squatters as part of cleanup process associated with LAPCAS,” he warned.
He expressed concern that the allocated land, which is undeveloped and lying idle, is causing confusion as people end up thinking that this country has a lot of free land.
“A chunk of land we see unoccupied has already been allocated. Some was allocated around 1980’s,” he said.
A source not authorized to speak to the media at Palapye Sub Land Board indicated that their board has this week started the process of repossessing after summoning to their offices around 160 undeveloped plot owners to explain what hinders them from developing their plots. He said they attributed failure to develop the plots to various factors such as sickness, loss of jobs, attending school out of the country.
The source said in Palapye they cannot afford to leave undeveloped plots idling because the village is growing into a town, which is expected to attract investors. He said investors would only be attracted to Palapye if there are developed plots where people reside. He said in Ngwato land board jurisdiction they have already completed the first exercise of repossession in Tutume while in Tonota they are waiting for court ruling. Another Public Relations Officer from Ngwato Land Board expressed concern about undeveloped plots in their jurisdiction.
“Undeveloped plots create shortage of land to be allocated while there is land that have been allocated but is seating idle and not used for the purposes it was requested for.”
It has emerged that the initiative of repossessing undeveloped plots was started in 2008, but land boards have been failing to repossess plots because courts argued that owners of undeveloped plots were not given an opportunity to give consent over the issue.