The South East District Council (SDEC) has requested the Ministry of Lands and Housing to halt the eviction of squatters at Mojadife and Lenkwane pending assessment.
Malete Land Board has taken squatters at Mojadife and Lenkwane to court seeking an eviction order. The issue of these unrecognised settlements dates back to 2013. The SDEC is trying to mediate between residents and Land Board as it [council] has already invested resources by building a primary school and has setup a mobile clinic there.
Residents of the two unrecognised settlements have been staying there for over 35-years and some have buried their relatives there. Even though they originate from Ramotswa, the families have never had plots there.
The council secretary wrote a letter, after council passed a motion on the matter, requesting the Ministry to stop the evictions of squatters at the two settlements under the jurisdiction of Malete Land Board until a thorough assessment is done.
The case on the matter is scheduled for September 21, 2016 at the Land Tribunal. Councillor for Mogobane ward, Sisimogang Abram tabled the motion.
In a letter written dated September 13, 2016 to the permanent secretary of Lands and Housing, the SEDC council secretary, Lebuile Israel states that: “This serves to inform you that South East District Council, at its sitting of the 29th - 31st August 2016, passed the following motion on urgent request: For Land Board to halt eviction of squatters at Mojadife and Lenkwane settlement until thorough assessment is done on the status of the settlements. The reasons were that the Malete Land Board has already issued the squatters with court orders despite the fact that the assessment has not been done on the status of the settlement.”
Mojadife and Lenkwane are regarded as wards that fall under Matlapekwe and Metsimaswaana.
The Land Board had given 31 residents of the two settlements a 35-days’ notice of eviction.
In one of the court papers, the Land Board secretary, Otsile Sefako wrote: “The matter started around 2012 when the Land Board tasked land use office to investigate the growth of Metsimaswaane settlers, which raised suspicion that there might be illegal occupation of land in the area and the land use office was to monitor the growth
They appealed to the Office of the President and the board took a decision to suspend the earlier resolution while waiting for the study of settlements from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development”.
Kgosi Maphane Mothudi of Mogobane said it is shocking that the issue had resurfaced after Bamalete Tribal Administration had asked that the eviction be suspended and proposed further consultation to be done with relevant stakeholders.
“There is need for thorough assessment in these settlements. These people were moved from Setobe years back because the area was near the river. One of the chiefs then recommended them to settle at Mojadife and Lenkwane.
If Land Board evicts them, where will they go because they grew up knowing that they belong there? Land Board doesn’t want to understand the situation of these people.
Kgosi Mosadi Seboko was engaged in this matter and proposed that consultation be done,” Mothudi said.
He added: “What is even shocking is that the Land Board says the settlement is not recognised, but it had allocated only a few people plots in that area.
What will happen if people are to move, then will the primary school close? Again what will happen to their burial site?”
SDEC chairperson, Phenyo Segokgo told Lenkwane residents on Wednesday that they had written to lands permanent secretary and they are hoping that they would get positive feedback.
“Always ask Land Board officials to address you in the presence of your chief and council representative. What we are requesting from Land Board is proper procedure to be followed,” Segokgo said.
MP for Ramotswa Samuel Rantuana promised the residents of the two settlements that he would ask his attorney to assist them on the matter.
“Maybe certain things and (the) Land Board report, which it alleges to have made will be given to us.
Stakeholders which land board had engaged or consulted are not agreeing with (the) Land Board resolution,” Rantuana said.