Saturday, November 26, 2022

Nata Bird Sanctuary survives bid by Ngwato land board to clip its wings

Bird watchers sighed with relief this week after the Palapye land tribunal threw out a court bid by Ngwato land board to either terminate or alter its lease agreement with Nata Bird Sanctuary. Palapye land tribunal President Phetsolo Nare dismissed with costs an application by Ngwato Land Board seeking an order to enforce its unilateral decision to vary the lease agreement it entered into with Nata Bird sanctuary.

The disputed lease agreement relates to common law rights over a piece of land in Nata used as a bird sanctuary by Nata Bird Sanctuary. Dismissing the application, Nare said his court had no jurisdiction over matters pertaining to common law land grants. He further stated that the application could not succeed because Ngwato Land Board cannot unilaterally alter terms of lease agreement it entered into with Nata bird sanctuary. Nare explained that alteration of lease agreement was a variation of material term which could only be effective if both parties to the contract were agreeable to the variations. As Nata sanctuary was not agreeable to the alteration, Nare said the original agreement contract of 1992 should stand till lawfully set aside by the High Court or through a mutual agreement.

He ruled that any decision made by the Ngwato Land Board to terminate or alter the agreement made in 1992 is of no force and effect. He said Nata Bird Sanctuary should continue to occupy all the land granted to it in terms of 1992 agreement and continue with developments. He then advised Ngwato Land Board of their rights to appeal to the High Court on points of law if they so wish.

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