Wednesday, October 27, 2021

LAPCAS on brink of failure

An investigation by The Telegraph into Land Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) suggests that the bungling of the project by Ministry of Lands and Housing is worse than originally revealed.

The Telegraph has turned up information showing that the Department of Mapping and Surveys has thrown out thousands of plots surveyed by its parent Ministry’s land surveyors that were submitted for approval.

The department found faults in the LAPCAS’s land registration component and has decided not to approve them thus far due to loopholes in the exercise.

It has emerged that the decision by the Ministry to engage unqualified land surveyors contributed to the bungling of the multi million project.

A document passed to The Telegraph shows that in a systematic plan to close out private and qualified land surveyors, the Ministry entered into an agreement with University of Botswana (UB) to train its own unqualified officers in preparation for the LAPCAS project in 2013.

The document shows that UB was to train the unqualified land surveyors at a small fee for the LAPCAS project.

As part of capacity building for its unqualified officers, the agreement entailed “addressing historical issues of unqualified staff especially in LBs, certificate diploma and degree courses with UB and others.”

The agreement saw officials enrolling for “Certificate diploma and degree courses in land management established at UB specially one off certificate courses and retooling of BSC graduates into Land Surveyors.”  

But the decision by the Ministry to engage unqualified land surveyors has backfired as the project is failing to kick off despite millions of Pula spent on the project.

Official statistics figures from the Department of Surveys and Mapping paints a picture of chaos. Scores of plots surveyed by government surveyors have not been approved.

Out 18532 plots surveyed at the Rolong Landboard of which 12398 have been submitted none has been approved by the department of Mapping and Surveys. The figures show that out of 19579 plots surveyed by the Malete Landboard, only 9063 have been submitted and 22 percent has been approved. 

At Tlokweng Landboard 11325 plots were surveyed and only 2455 were approved and none were approved while at Tati Landboard 50597 plots were surveyed and 16453 were submitted but none were approved.

 At Tawana Landboard, 65766 plots were surveyed and 5317 were submitted to the department with a paltry 14 percent approved. Ghanzi Landboard surveyed 20749 plots and submitted a mere 3727 plots to the department while Kgalagadi Landboard surveyed 32510 plots and submitted 3179 of which 18 percent was approved. Chobe Landboard surveyed 12234 plots and submitted 5514 and none were approved.  

On the other hand, a number of plots surveyed by private surveyors were surveyed and approved by the department of Mapping and Surveys. At Kweneng Landboard 117943 and out of that 43968 were submitted and 70 percent of those submitted approved while out 43198 plots were surveyed by the private surveyors at Kgatleng Landboard and 76 percent of those submitted was approved.

At Ngwaketse Landboard, 103918 plots were surveyed and 31406 were submitted and 67 percent of those submitted was approved while at Ngwato Landboard 293764 were surveyed and 189323 were submitted and 30 percent of those submitted was approved.

Commenting on the status of the land registration and survey exercise project, Botswana Institute of Geomantics Chairman Jacoba Kgopolelo said “We were recently furnished with statistics that did indicate massive progress in surveying of tribal land parcels where private consultants were engaged as opposed to areas where government made attempts without involving private consultants.”

“An example of contrasting results will be Kgatleng Land Board where private firms were involved, 74% surveyed and submitted, while Tawana Land Board where no private firm was engaged stands at 8% of surveyed and submitted surveys. 3. We appeal to Government to continuously engage our members as their track record in terms of delivery is now an open secret,” he said.

He added that “We are unhappy with how Government continuously allow for unqualified and unregistered people to participate in our industry. We say this because other Ministries supervise projects where there is no qualified nor registered Land Surveyor and they see nothing wrong with that.”

The Telegraph understands that the project could be scaled back to get the Ministry’s house in order by engaging professional private land surveyors. The project has already missed a number of deadlines and fears are that it might even stretch to next year.

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