Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Ruling on long-running Kgatleng land dispute expected next month

Palapye Land Tribunal President, Phetsolo Nare, is on October 12 expected to pass judgment in a landmark land claim case in which Abraham Radikgomo Malan is claiming big land chunks in Kgatleng District.

Advocate Dan Bregman, who is representing Malan, had, at the end of the case, submitted that if the Land Board could not give back Malan the land he is claiming, then it should pay him money based on the land’s value.

Bregman also submitted that the dispute between the Land Board and Malan appears to be only on the amount or portion that Malan is entitled to, adding that the Land Board has admitted that Malan owns land.

This, he submitted, was the dispute between the two parties and that the Land Tribunal had been asked to adjudicate on the issue.

Bregman said his client had stated quite well that he was not seeking any land which may belong to Kgosi Isang, his family or descendants.

On the issue of payments of the legal costs, Bregman said that the land board should bear the costs of the case because, he said, it had been applying delaying tactics in order for the case to drag on, adding that it had taken five years to bring to court minutes of September 24- 27 , 2002 land board meeting.

Further, he said that there was no explanation for the delay of five years for the delivery of the minutes, which were first requested for in January 2003.

In regard to the wrongful conduct of the Land board and its refusal to deliver the said minutes of the meeting, he pointed out that the case could not continue on merits until November 29, 2009.
The Land board, he said, should also pay costs for four days of argument and of evidence because it had refused, from commencement of hearing in December 2004, to accept any portion of Malan’s claim or to make a tender of it.

Dutch Leburu, representing Kgatleng Land Board, had submitted that the foundation of Malan’s claims are in a letter dated 1 November 1994 emanating from South Africa, allegedly authored by a certain JJ Malan.

The letter, he submitted, identified properties as allegedly belonging to Abraham Malan’s father-in-law, Mr Steinburg, and was bequeathed to Abraham Malan.

He further submitted that it was common cause that at the time of his death, Steinburg had not transferred the properties to Abraham Malan’s father and that all the land referred to as at 1970 belonged to Kgatleng Land Board.

Further, he said that it was common cause that pieces of land that are the subject matter of the dispute are within Bakgatla Tribal Authority, as defined within Tribal Territory’s Act.
Leburu further submitted that the entire area claimed by Abraham Malan at Pilane forms part of Bakgatla Tribal Territory and vests in Kgatleng Land Board. Leburu also submitted that boundaries of Bakgatla Tribal Authority included the area claimed by Malan and exclude the farms identified in the map and not Abraham Malan’s alleged farm.

The absolute ownership of tribal land, Leburu submitted, is with the land Board and that this position had been affirmed by the highest Court in this land.
Dutch Leburu and Reuben Lekorwe are representing the Kgatleng Land Board , whilst Land Tribunal President Phetsolo Nare is presiding.

At the height of this matter, Kgatleng Land Board property, worth millions of pula, was attached by deputy sheriffs working for Malan after a Lobatse High Court ruling that he be paid costs for the case at the High Court.

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