MAUN: The newly appointed Maun Sub-Land board chairman Tebogo Bethia says he is destined to hit the ground running in the allocation of plots.
The Maun Administrative Authority, a subordinate of the North West District Council (NWDC) has given him a thumbs up to start allocating land, whether serviced or not. The sub council has on the other hand agreed to accelerate efforts to start the process of servicing land as and failure to avail the much-needed services such as water and internal roads at new plots.
In his address of the MAA sub council Bethia told councilors that there is urgent need to push the current backlog because there is a big chunk of idle land which needs to be given out to people who have been on waiting list since 2006. Maun sub land board alone has 37256 residential and 11126 farm applications which are awaiting allocation. He noted that they have in the past been faced with the challenge of insufficient funds in order to carry out design for lay outs and to provide infrastructural services by the relevant departments as well as to conduct strategic Environmental Assessments in demarcated layouts. In some instances, he said plot owners were reluctant to claim their land rights and thus delaying land registration exercise.
Makgobokgobo ward councilor Luke Motlaleselelo requested that the staff attitude at the sub land board be addressed as matter of urgency. He noted that there have been numerous incidents where customers were given very bad attitude by some officials. The same attitude, he said, has tarnished the good name of the land board as it now rated as one of the most corrupt in the country. “Please discourage this attitude thing and make it top of your priorities. We want to be assured of reforms. Your staff is so corrupted that they stand to receive bribes in exchange of good service. They must know that they are there to serve clients and not expect to be paid for services through the backdoor”, he warned. Nominated councilor, retired Brigadier Letsogile Motsumi echoed Motlaleselelo’s sentiments that the entire Tawana Land board is known to top the list of the most corrupt in the country, something which he said can smash up integrity if not addressed. He suggested that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) should be called in from time to time so as to address both staff and new members.
Also at the meeting was NWDC chairman Kebareeditse Ntsogotho who made a suggestion that the Tribal Land Policy should be enforced to discourage people who always want to claim deserted homes and fields as theirs. He said land boards should use powers bestowed to them to see that such plots are forfeited to the state to allow for fresh allocations because most of them are in a sorry sight which then stalls developments. Senonnori/Boro councilor Kenson Kgaga said talk that people at Boro settlement in NG 32 will be moved to a nearby settlement of Sexaxa unsettles him because those people have been there long before independence. He said “Our government is so selfish. As I speak those people have plans to make a change of land use and turn that place into a cultural village and camp site.
There is a lot of activity going on at Boro and now our government wants to take it from its people, the very people who made it famous”.Councillior Botshelobokae Ramasu pleaded with Bethia to have mercy and allow people in Moeti ward to permanently occupy the land they currently stay in even though it was obtained illegally, She said the people she represents were compelled because they have long waited to be allocated land rightfully, all in vain. She also called for a fresh allocation of plots to people in new Disana whose yards sit on flood plains.
In response, Bethia admitted that indeed he knows of a number of families who were allocated plots at or near flood plains at new Disana ward. He said such people should submit letters to the land board so that their grievances can be discussed at the next board meeting.Nevertheless, he said while there is a possibility of those people being re-allocated new plots, the land authority might not be in a position to reimburse those who have already developed their plots by way of putting up permanent structures. He said there is no way that the land board can approve of or recognize squatters in Moeti or elsewhere because they know the land they currently occupy is not their as they got it illegally. He said squatter management continues to be a big challenge even though the land board is making efforts to sensitize people on the matter. In recent times, he said they have observed an influx of fraudulent customary land grant certificates with people coming forward to try and claim plots which were never allocated.
“We have seen the mushrooming of people in planning areas. Moeti is a planning area and therefore whoever has built permanent structures should know it was wrong to do so. There is no way that we can recognize them and so they must know that there will be a time of reckoning. We will avail plots and allocate them so that they pave way for planned developments in that area”. He added that he is yet to call all land overseers so that they may have a common understanding of what to do and what not to do. On the issue of Boro, Bethia said councilors need not contradict themselves because the decision to re-zone Boro for ecotourism activities was discussed and met at the same council through the physical planning unit not long ago.