Sunday, January 29, 2023

Unavailability of serviced land haunts Francistown

Government is not keen to clear the backlog of plot applications on the Francistown waiting list.

The Minister of Lands and Housing, Lebonaamang Mokalake, has told parliament that government is not even considering allocating unserviced land to the Francistown residents.
Government is concerned mostly about land servicing.

Responding to a question by Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi, the minister was non committal on when allocations will be made.

Among others, Mmolotsi had sought to know how plot applications were on the Francistown waiting list as well as information on when the oldest application was made.

The MP also wanted to know if government will consider allocating unserviced land to Francistown residents.

Currently, there are 24, 491 applications on the Francistown waiting list. Roughly a thousand of these applications were for the Department of Land and over 23 thousand were made to the Francistown City Council’s SHHA housing scheme.

Mokalake told parliament that the oldest application made to the Department of Land was in 1990. On the other hand, records from the Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) indicate that application for land under the scheme was made in 1989.

“Out of the 1, 055 plots offered to Francistown City Council for SHHA applicants 1, 011 were allocated in April 2013, 43 plots have been reserved for compensating people affected by the Tonota-Francistown road and 1 plot could not be offered because it is considered to be too small,” said Mokalake.

“…I would not consider allocating unserviced plots to individuals on the waiting lists for residential plots. It would not be prudent to do so because of the environmental, aesthetical and development cost implication that would come with such a move,” said Mokalake.

The minister said that if anything, government would consider giving the land to potential investors and property developers to service and possibly let out or sell to residents. He said that this would be in line with the government policy on engaging the private sector in land servicing.

“What I can and would consider is allocation of un-serviced blocks of land to potential investors in property development, including the city council, who could service the land and develop residential houses to rent or sell to those who need accommodation in Francistown. This has been done in the past in Gaborone where Government either partnered with or sold blocks of land to private property developers to avail plots or houses,” the minister said.

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