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Land policy may hinder marriage – Mokgware

AMANDA DICHABE
Member of Parliament for Gabane - Mmankgodi, Pius Mokgware has criticised loopholes in the land policy presented by acting Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele, yesterday in Parliament.

Mokgware said if the motion were to be adopted without amendments, it would cause conflicts and raise major issues in the long term. He also said the policy was ambiguous and gender insensitive. Mokgware also said the policy did not recognise the two types of marriage which exists thus, in community of property and out of community of property.

According to the policy, when a man and a woman who have applied for land, decide to get married in community of property when the other partner is allocated land somewhere in the country, that land belongs to both parties.

Mokgware said in a situation where the married couple decide to change their type of marriage to out of community of property, there are high chances of them not be allocated land individually as the marriage regime is not informed by all land boards.

In addition, he said such law disadvantages women and they would continue to suffer.  Mokgware cited cases whereby registration of land contains the man’s details only because men are regarded as the head of the family.

“Marriage should not violate one’s right to be allocated land, and if the policy is not changed or improved, many people will delay to get married or not marry at all because they know that once they marry they cannot be allocated a plot if their partner already have one,” he said.

Furthermore, Mokgware said, women could be in trouble, in a situation where they

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divorce and usually their husbands remain with the plot only because it is registered in their name. He said government shouldn’t turn a blind to divorce issues because it does happen.  “Women would have nowhere to go. Even if they reapply for land, it will take a maximum of 23 years for them to be allocated a plot and by the time they are given those plots, they will be in their old age and with no resources to build a proper shelter which they has wished for during their youth days,” he said.

Assistant minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso and the Member of Parliament for Tlokweng Same Bathobakae called for the policy to be amended to address marital issues.

They both agreed that some women are forced to lie about their marital status to acquire land.

Tshireletso also said during divorce, some women are often forced to return to their parents’ homestead and could end up embroiled in conflicts with the former partners’ siblings.

Meanwhile, MP for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane suggested that children of adults, who pass away while on the waiting list, should inherit the plots when they receive the letter of allocation. “I am not implying that all children of the deceased parents should be given land because their parents are late, but only those whose parents were registered and were on the waiting list before their death should be assisted,” he explained.



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