FRANCISTOWN: Chobe Land Board says the district is experiencing acute shortage of land for human settlement and have resorted to reducing plot sizes to mitigate the challenge.
The revelation was made by senior officials from the land board in Francistown on Friday during a press briefing in a bid to foster relations with the media as well as taking some of their services to the public.
Chobe district is made up of Kasane Township and eight villages of Pandamatenga, Lesoma, Kazungula in the east, Mabele, Kavimba, Kachikau, Satau, and Parakarungu in the west. They said the land shortage is worsened by the fact that only 26% of the land in the district is reserved for human settlements and the rest for wildlife.
Chobe Land Board chairman Nelson Masule indicated that land shortage at Lesoma and Kazungula, which are some of the prime tourism areas in the district, is worse than in other areas. “At Kazungula we have the last 300 plots which are currently being surveyed before they are allocated but that is equal to nothing looking at people who are on the waiting list.
At Lesoma we do not have land available at all. We are in negotiations with the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism to avail us land from forest reserves so that we can allocate it for human settlement,” Masule said.
In total the land board said
Kazungula has 8,288 people on the waiting list while Lesoma has 4,016. The last allocations in Lesoma and Kazungula were in 2010 where 600 plots were allocated in Kazungula and 480 in Lesoma. The land board chairman also said that lately they have recorded cases of squatting. “We have so far identified 20 churches that occupy areas marked for residential purposes. The churches are in Kasane. As a way forward we will be implementing a squatting management strategy and guidelines which will be put into use this financial year,” he said.
The land board secretary Kealeboga Kemoreile said they would engage relevant authorities to see how the issue involving the 20 squatters is best handled. The land board according to Masule is also facing challenges from unscrupulous individuals claming to be working for them.
Masule stated that the unscrupulous agents call their clients demanding them to e-wallet certain amounts of money into their accounts in order to have their (clients) land applications fast tracked. “At the moment we have more than five cases reported to Kasane police. The police are still investigating and no one has been arrested,” said Masule.