Saturday, January 23, 2021

Parley stalls farm sales in Boteti area

Parliament has halted government plans to sell  Kaka and Sandveld farms  in the Boteti area to a hand full of  rich Batswana, with a view to jerking-up local contribution of the agricultural sector to the national economy.

This week, parliament stalled the allocation of the proposed farms urging, proper consultation before the all out proposed sale. The aim is to reserve certain farms to local residents, mainly of the Bushman origin.

Presenting the motion that led to the suspension of the jumble sale, Member of Parliament for Boteti, Slumber Tsogwane urged for the socio-economic impact of the move to be assessed first.
The Kaka and Sandveld area is predominantly occupied by under-privileged people Bushmen who have used it for grazing small livestock and hunter gathering for years.  

However a decision was made in 1998 decision that led to the demarcation of 30 farms, were planned to be sold through a public tender.

“Our people, most importantly the Basarwa have been using this land for communal purposes, grazing their livestock and even hunting for survival. By selling these farms government would have dealt them a devastating blow as they would be displaced and rendered virtually landless by the moneyed elites who would┬áhave exclusive rights to all the land, leaving them helpless and hopeless,” he said, insisting that at least two farms should be “reserved for my poor people to rely on.”
His statement follow an advertisement published in newspapers this week calling on interested parties to apply for the farms.

“Most of the residents do not know how to read and write, and inviting applicants on a single publication complicates the process even worse. I do not know the reason why government flouted its original method of advertising the sold farms in all publications to inform prospective buyers,” he said. He further called on government to scale down the tender price as it is too exorbitant for his constituents.

Government intended to put the huge chunk of land up for sale. Consisting of thirty commercial ranches, Kaka and Sandveld was demarcated in 1998 and awaited allocation to interested and potential buyers.

According to the advertisement, those interested in the properties were expected to have registered their by 22nd July. However parliament’s decision this week thwarted the transaction.

In an interview with Sunday Standard on Thursday Minister for Lands and Housing Nonofo Molefhi however said, “I do not know what consultations they are talking about. What I can tell you is that these consultations were done way back in 1998. The farms were demarcated and awaited allocation to potential buyers.”

“Any other matter is not within my jurisdictions. I would refer the matter to Ngwato land who will respond to the views expressed,” he added.

Ngwato land board could not be contacted at the time of going to press.

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