Tlokweng Land Board Chairman, Thuso Bogatsu has said the allocation of 285 infill residential plots around the village have been suspended as the Board awaits full investigations on circumstances surrounding recent controversy.
According to Bogatsu, Tlokweng Land Board advertised 285 residential plots in 2009 and a total of 700 applicants were selected for interviews. He said 500 applicants were raffled at the Kgotla while 200 Batlokwa applicants were selected in the Land Board office. He added that the successful applicants were called for interviews in March 2011.
Bogatsu revealed that the Board had determined that there was procedural flaw in selecting applicants to be invited for the interview and certain provisions of the Tribal Land Act, regulations, and land policies were not adhered to.
“The Land Board is empowered to allocate land ‘in accordance with the powers conferred upon it by or under the Tribal Land Act. The Tribal Land Act has long been amended to remove the word ‘tribesman’ and replaced it with ‘citizen’,” he said.
According to Bogatsu, it was found that some Batlokwa were included in the shortlist and invited for interview even when such applicants had plots within the 70 km radius from Tlokweng. He said the policy of the Land Board is that those who have plots within 70 km radius of Tlokweng is a product of the statutory provisions and added that the Board is not supposed to depart from it without first amending it.
The Land Board chairman said in order to rectify the omissions and procedural errors that the Board had committed, the Board decided to review and nullify the selection and interview process and re-start the process all over again to avoid possible litigation.
“This, therefore, means that from a list of applicants who qualify for plots, only 285 were selected through a raffle model,” he said.
He stated that the 285 applicants were drawn from the vetted applications, which stood at 10, 256. He added that all these applications were received at the time of the advert in 2009 and there were no new applications received or included in the overall batch of around 17 000.
“The Board has been informed about concerns of Batlokwa and will await full investigations to be completed prior to allocating plots to those who are eligible,” said Bogatsu.
He stated that Tlokweng Land Board became aware of media reports that Batlokwa had been at the main kgotla on the evening of 13th June and on 14th June to, demonstrate their displeasure on the process of allocating by raffle, including the apparent absence of Batlokwa in the said raffle outcome. He said thereafter the concerned group from Tlokweng registered their concern with the Minister of Lands and Housing, Lebonaamang Mokalake.