Friday, October 23, 2020

Ministers and councilors face land grab allegations

President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s directive which was designed to empower citizen land owners has been torpedoed by large scale land corruption in which cabinet ministers and councillors are implicated. The presidential directive CAB 14A of 2019 which has since been passed by parliament into law has not been put into practice because of ongoing investigations by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime into illegal land dealings. Documents passed to the Sunday Standard reveal that a minister’s wife and a former cabinet minister are implicated in illegal land grabbing in the Kgatleng District. It has further emerged that some councillors in the Kgatleng District are linked to a syndicate involved in illegal land deals in the Kgatleng District.

It is understood that during the State of Emergency, the illegal allocation of plots in the area became so rampant that the Ministry was forced to take action.A Savingram from the Director of Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP)  from the Ministry of land Management Water and Sanitation Services , Eunice Naledi Mmono addressed to the Kgatleng District Council Secretary and Chief Physical Planning Housing and Estate management Officer dated 21 August 2020 states that “we take note of the recent requests for planning permission to subdivide farms mainly around the Mmashia(sic), Matebele, Oodi, Mokatse, Modipane  and Dikwididi areas this eminently arouses concern more so that it is very clear that there is a creation of unpleasant situation tantamount to anarchy.”

Mmono reminded the Kgatleng Council Secretary and Chief Physical Planning Housing and Estate management Officer that “you may recall that in 2012/14 an effort was made to prepare a development plan for Mmashia (sic)/Oodi/Mokatse/Modipane/Dikwididi Development Plan (2012-36).”She added: “Our records show that the plan was considered by the Kgatleng Land Board sitting of the 19th 30th May 2014th. Thereafter, upon your request special data on the draft plan was submitted to your office in March 2019. Thereafter the plan was never taken through approval.”Mmono further stated that through Ministry of Land Management Water Sanitation Services (MLWS6/2/11 II (4) dated 28 February 2019, the Minister of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services approved the proposal to declare Kgatleng District a planning area.”Mmono said this was communicated to Kgatleng District through “our DTCP 6/5/7 1 (67) dated 11th March 2019 and requested that your office assist in facilitating for surveying of the Planning Area.”

She said on the 1st April 2019 “your office requested for maps of Kgatleng District that would facilitate them to survey the Planning Area. Information was handed over through our DTCP 6/5/71 (72) dated April 2019. The Department has however facilitated for the description of the planning area and submitted for Gazettement which I believe it is currently being processed by AGS Attorney General) Chambers.”Mmono said given this background and under the provision of the Town and Country Planning Act of 2013 Part IV Section 19 (i) a “request is made to your office to initiate for the review of the draft Mmashia/Matebele/Oodi/Mokatse/Modipane/Dikwididi Development Plan so that it is evidentially be submitted for final approval by the Minister. “To facilitate this process, I suggest you consolidate a working team comprising of the major stakeholders being Kgatleng District Council, Kgatleng Land Board, Department of Town and Country Planning, Department of Surveys and Mapping and any other you see fit to include. The team as a matter of urgency review the draft plan so that it is ready to request for final approval and Gazettement.”

Following this Savingram, Kgatleng Land Board Secretary, Tlotlego Nkidi Rampha also addressed  correspondence to the Kgatleng Sub District Council Secretary dated 7th September 2020, in which he stated “…Kgatleng Landboard, at its sitting of the 24th to the 31st August 2020, resolved to institute a moratorium on the receiving and consideration of change of use applications for integrated farming within the area of jurisdiction of Oodi subordinate Land Board , this includes applications that are at the time of commencement of this moratorium also held or partly processed by the Land Board.” He said the moratorium shall be “in effective from 1st September 2020 to the 31st October 2020.”“Be further informed that other transactions emanating from and or related to these affected applications will be henceforth with also be halted. Still in line with this moratorium, people are to do due diligence with Kgatleng Land Board on matter related to all titles issued under Oodi Sub Land Board. The Kgatleng Land Board is currently assessing the extent of change of uses in the area to inform and guide itself in making future decisions on this account,” said Rampa.

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