Residents of Ramaphatle and surrounding areas, who are on the verge of seeing their houses demolished, are breathing a sigh of relief, albeit temporarily.
This comes after the Thamaga Land Board, which had given them notice to move out as their residences were to be demolished, was halted by the intervention of attorney Dick Bayford.
The Thamaga Land Board had approached the residents with a court order informing those residing in Ramaphatle, Fikeng (Phiriyabokwete) and Ramotlhabeng in Mankgodi to move out their valuables from the houses within 14 days that ended on the 7th of this month (March) since the houses were to be demolished.
It was said that the Land Board wants to demolish the houses because the owners allocated themselves the land.
Councilor Dux Mafoko said they engaged lawyer Bayford to represent them.
Bayford has, so far, stopped the Land Board from destroying the houses. Mafoko said that years ago, he and the Chief approached the Ministry of Lands and Housing on the issue but Nonofo Molefhi, who was the one in charge then, gave them a list to evict all who were not born or who did not belong in Ramaphatle by origin.
“We found that they were less than 3 families and we asked the minister not to evict them but, rather, charge them,” he said.
Mafoko says it surprises them that they received the court order indicating that they failed to appear in court. He said they do not agree with what the Land Board is saying because Ramaphatle residents were allocated land by Mankgodi’s Chief Letlole before there was a Land Board in Thamaga.
Mafoko also said the residents were advised to apply when the Land Board came into being but up to now only 7 people were allocated land in Ramaphatle.
“The majority of people residing there are from Mankgodi but some are from other tribes,” said Mafoko.
He said that they are unhappy with the way the Land Board communicates with them since they directly talk to them without the Chief’s consent. Mafoko said his suspicion about the issue is that since Thamaga and Mankgodi have fought for Ramaphatle land, and was taken by Mankgodi, the case was therefore never over.
Commenting on the issue at the Kgotla, the public alleged that there is need to look back at history, empower their messengers towards the lawyer and agreed that each family will contribute P50 or more. They also advised those among them who had lodged complaints with the Thamaga Chief that by so doing they would be disturbing the ongoing case.
Some are reported to even have gone to report the issue at Molepolole. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Kweneng Land Board, Raphael Kgabung, told a kgotla meeting held in Mankgodi on Monday that they have apologized to the Chief for holding a meeting without consulting the Chief.
“Honestly, the Chief was angry with us; he was not happy about the meeting we held behind his back,” said Kgabung. “He requested us to come and explain so we found it appropriate to come to him.”
Kgabung added: “We admit that there has not been good consultation with the Chief and during the meeting I realized that even the headman was not there.”
Two weeks ago, the Kweneng Land Board went to Mankgodi Village at Ramotlhabeng and shared the meeting with the residents to inform them that those who were not allocated land by the Land Board but by themselves will have their houses demolished.
Kgabung in a kgotla meeting in Mankgodi said they have factors they consider when allocating land and added that people should know that these days there is limited land and when they allocate land they look at the plan, unlike in the past.
He said if they realize that other resources were needed, then the allocation would fail.
Ramaphatle is the territory between Mankgodi and Thamaga; Fikeng is the territory between Kweneng and Balete and Ramotlhabeng is between Kweneng and Bangwaketsi.
The next meeting will be next week as they prepare to appear at the court.