The Kgatleng Land Board last week presented its Draft Land Management Policy to the Kgatleng District full council and among issues that agitated councillors was that of ‘Livestock Borehole Audit’.
The Land Board Secretary, Roseline Kedimotse, explained to councillors that her Board “undertook the exercise in 2011 and 12, whose objectives were to update and reconcile records of allocations already made; identify spaces available for allocation of these boreholes; establish development status of the boreholes as well as to enable Board to deal with existing backlog.”
The exercise concerned livestock watering boreholes only.
The first Councillor to point out his concern on the issue was Moreri Mogwera who said the Land Board members seemed to have more and easy access to land use, including borehole ownership. These members, he said, had boreholes even where syndicates that applied for boreholes waited for years without being allocated.
“You will find a Land Board member having a borehole where the distances between boreholes are questionable. At times, you will even find that the supposed neighbours of that member do not know anything about his or her allocation at that particular area. Where even a syndicate was denied allocation for various reasons you will find a land board member or former member allocated-as an individual. Watch out for these concerns as they may lead to conflicts in the future as favouritism or nepotism seem to be reigning. Some of these board members have the tendency to be members of many syndicates,” said Mogwera.
His sentiments were echoed by Jeremiah Mosinyi who cautioned the land board that it should watch out for land board members who allocate themselves land before allocation starts. This has led to arguments as people claim virgin lands to belong to them.
Kedimotse also highlighted revised clauses in land management policy draft. She said there would be no fast tracking of applications for land for divorced couples and sale in execution.
“An offer of land allocation shall lapse within six weeks if not accepted. Acceptance shall be signing the land titles. Upon death of applicant the application shall not be inheritable by any other except by spouse married in community of property. Cancellation of application, disputes, complaint and appeal would be cancelled if a person fails to appear without just cause having been properly served or where board is satisfied that applicant cannot be found (removal of two meetings),” she said.
On these councillors, Mosinyi and Stephen Makhura expressed displeasure in mentioning of couple married in community of property in inheritance. This they felt was unfair as it did not consider the plight of orphans of, especially unwed mothers.
“Single mothers apply for land and wait for years. They ultimately die while on the waiting list. From there as council we have to start looking around for plots when we have raised some funds to build such orphans shelter. Orphans plight should be considered when decisions like these are made,” said Makhura. He further queried that there are people who applied for residential plots as far back as in 2000. Some of these people have not been allocated, yet there are those who applied in 2010 and have already been allocated.
Responding to their concerns, Kedimotse told councillors that waiting list does not last forever. Children as individuals are also entitled to land ownership. The orphans can apply and be allocated plots. This is not the case with a widowed or divorced spouse; married in community of property.
There are circumstances that may arise and the policy is not blind to their existence. The policy also cannot be forced not to outline its terms by emergence of whatever pressing circumstances.
Where people have approached the land board on such issues as those of orphans the land board will respond accordingly and assist.
On land board members’ land ownership, Kedimotse said the members are Batswana equally entitled to ownership as any other Motswana. Where unfairness was discovered on their side, action can be taken to remedy such situation. It is not legally binding that preference in land allocation should be given syndicates, not individuals. However, if the council feels there must be change a written submission can be made and the Board will assess it.