Thursday, July 2, 2020

Maunatlala villagers sue State

Sixteen residents of Maunatlala village in the Central District have taken the government to court demanding compensation for their damaged houses. The plaintiffs, Diane Magwaneng and 15 others who all live in Raphiri ward in Maunatlala are accusing the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services for destroying their houses sometimes in 2010 during construction of a dam in the area.


The case is before Francistown High Court Judge Barnabas Nyamadzabo.
According to the plaintiff’s declaration papers, during construction of this dam, some of their houses were destroyed due to the heavy equipment and shaking of the ground that took place.
They allege in their court papers that various government representatives had not denied that the houses of the plaintiffs were damaged by the construction of the dam and had been committed on compensation. The plaintiffs further allege that in 2016, a representative from the government promised them that the compensation of the damaged houses will be addressed but that never happened.


The plaintiffs are represented by Francistown based attorney Malik Mmohe while the Attorney General represents the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (Defendant).
Through their attorney Mmohe, the plaintiffs maintain in the court documents that the defendant is entitled to assess the damages caused to them. This is so because they believe the defendant was supposed through its consultants, to have taken pictures and evaluated surrounding buildings for future reference in the event of any dispute.


The plaintiffs are seeking the following reliefs; an order declaring that the construction of the dam at Maunatlala damaged their houses, an order declaring that the plaintiffs are entitled for compensation for the houses or buildings that were damaged by dam construction and another order declaring that the defendant employ the services of an assessor for the purposes of determining a fair value for the damaged buildings.
In addition, they are also demanding that the defendant bear the cost of the law suit.


On the other hand, the defendant through the Attorney General is denying that the houses were destroyed due to construction of the dam. The defendant further avers that the dam is 2 km from the houses, therefore it cannot be said to be built next to plaintiffs’ houses.

“Prior to the construction, an audit of properties in Maunatlala was carried out. The audit revealed that most properties in Maunatlala already had cracks. A technical expert analysis Analytika Holdings Pty Ltd conducted a geotechnical study which included a house to house crack assessment of all the houses within a 4 km radius prior to and after construction of the dam. The study found no obvious correlation between the cracking of the houses and the construction of the dam,” reads part of the Defendant’s plea.


The defendant maintains that the Geotechnical study found that the construction of the dam bore no relationship to the damage of the houses in that area. Parties are still yet to go for status hearing.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.