The controversial law suit between Mochudi businessman Abraham Malan and the Kgatleng Land Board took an interesting twist on Thursday when Malan told Land Tribunal Judge Phetogo Nare that he wants Kgatleng East Member of Parliament Isaac Mabiletsa to give evidence on his behalf in a high profile case in which he is laying claim to over 1000 hectares of land covering a good chunk of Mochudi Village.
Malan, who has for over a decade been fighting with the Kgatleng Land Board at both the Land Tribunal and the High Court, accuses the Kgatleng Land Board of having taken sides with one Maribe Phadi during their dispute over a piece of land in Radiajana, next to Morwa Village, where he currently runs a horticulture farm.
Malan indicated that Mabiletsa was present during the altercation in which he was allocated land under protest, because Phadi had rescinded on their earlier agreement concerning the boundaries of their adjacent plots. During the misunderstanding, continued Malan, Land Board authorities did not take heed of his protest or allow other witnesses besides Phadi to give evidence on the issue.
Malan also told the court that at the time Mabiletsa advised him to just agree with the Land Board ruling so that he could begin his horticultural project, and then continue with his case later on. Asked why Mabiletsa was interested in the matter at all, Malan said that it was because the MP wanted him to provide the village with vegetables.
Malan also told the court that he was given the piece of land by a certain Ntshabelang whom he had initially approached with a proposal to purchase the piece of land after realizing that the soil is suitable for growing vegetables. However, said Malan, Ntshabelang refused to sell the land to him, rather insisting on giving him the land as a token of gratitude for the fact that Malan’s great grandfather used to provide them with food in the past.
Kgatleng Land Board attorney, Dutch Leburu, asked Malan if the lease for the land that he is claiming to have inherited from his father has ever been renewed or not, to which Malan replied that he does not know anything about his father’ lease or whether the land board has any authority over land that was acquired before the land boards were established.
He also said that he does not know if his father had at any time owed the Land Board some arrears or whether he had been paying rental for lease of the land.
At one stage, he lost his temper and angrily told the court that there were a lot of documents concerning the case and that he cannot be expected to remember all the details.
”I cannot remember all the details in all these documents, I would need a mini computer in my head to do that,” he said to laughter in court.
Leburu then put it to Malan that his claim for some plots of land in Pilane are invalid as he has not produced any documents to prove his claims, and that in some cases the leases of the plots of land he is claiming had expired and were not renewed. Malan’s answer to this was that he inherited the land from his father and has records to prove that.
In the case, Malan is claiming the chunk of land as his, saying that he inherited it from his father, who had in turn inherited it from his farther in law.