With his motion of no-confidence in the government, Dumelang Saleshando’s plan had been to put President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the dock of the court of public opinion. Eager to protect his principal, a junior minister who works directly under Masisi at the Office of the President, thought it might be fun to turn the tables on the Leader of the Opposition and Maun West MP.
As most of his Umbrella for Democratic Change comrades, Saleshando has lambasted Masisi for a bottomless appetite for property, including land. On Friday, when he tabled a motion of no-confidence against the government, Saleshando said that Masisi used his position to rig the rules and acquire previously state-owned land in Banyana Farms. In apparent attempt to demonstrate Saleshando’s hypocrisy, the Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Meshack Mthimkhulu, brought up a land issue in Sankoyo that involves the Saleshando family. Sankoyo, a small village in the North West District, is where Saleshando’s grandfather is buried. Mthimkhulu didn’t give a detailed description of the problem but from what he stated, the family’s decision to fence the grave has sparked controversy and led to complaints that have been brought to the attention of government officials. He claimed that the land in question covered an area measuring “7km by 5km” and that residents whose own land rights had been infringed upon by this acquisition were greatly displeased.
“I have been there,” added the minister in apparent effort to bolster his claim.
Saleshando made a point-of-order interjection that limited itself to Mthimkhuku’s claims about the size of the land in question. He neither denied the fencing nor the assertion about some residents complaining. He only wanted Mthimkhulu to withdraw the 7km by 5km claim – which the latter did after giving the Speaker, Phandu Skelemani, the runaround. Following the withdrawal, Mthimkhulu reiterated that his assertion that some residents were complaining about the amount of land that the Saleshandos had fenced around the grave in question.