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Sebetela in P10 million windfall

LEBOGANG MOSIKARE
Boyce Sebetela
FRANCISTOWN: The former Member of Parliament for Palapye Boyce Sebetela has won his claim for compensation against Morupule Coal Mine (MCM).

On July 11, 2019, Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa made an order that MCM (on behalf of the State) shall pay Sebetela P10, 961, 393, 17.

The former Minister had initially sought the State to compensate him close to P27 million.

The order follows a settlement agreement that the parties (Sebetela and MCM) entered into for the applicant (MCM) to pay Sebetela for the compulsory acquisition of his property.

Sebetela’s lawsuit against MCM started over differences about the amount of compensation Sebetela was due to receive after giving his land in Palapye to the State for expansion of MCM.

In his founding affidavit, Sebetela said on March 27, 2015, Ngwato Land Board (NLB) served him with a ‘Notice to treat’ in respect of his farms situated at Morupule lands.

“According to the notice, the State indicated its intention to acquire the pieces of land in the public interest under Section 32 of the Tribal Land Act for the construction of MCM open cast mine. I was directed to stop all improvements on the land and have cooperated accordingly. 

Consequently, my family have looked for and acquired land for resettlement at Thabala (for cattle), Paje (small stock and arable farming) and Makoro (settlement),” Sebetela partly said in his papers.

Read Nthomiwa’s order: “The payment shall be made within seven days from date of this agreement. In consideration of receipt of payment, the Respondent (Sebetela) undertakes to vacate the property by no later than December 31, 2019.

This agreement is without prejudice to the Respondent’s right to claim any further payments from the NLB, State or any other relevant authority for additional compensation.”

After Nthomiwa granted Sebetela the right to seek additional compensation, Sebetela exercised his right before Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego of the Francistown High Court (case number CVHFT0003-19) through his attorney Martin Maiba this week.

The matter that was scheduled for argument was however postponed

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to another date. Sebetela is now gunning for NLB to pay him the remaining balance because he says that there were shortcomings in the assessment report for the compensation due to him.

He previously said in his founding affidavit: “… On May 31, 2016, I received the first complete assessment report from NLB marked LS3. I responded in the first instant per mail marked LS4. I indicated that at item 5 of LS4 there was an error of addition that I brought to the attention of NLB to be corrected.

This was followed by a detailed counterclaim with solid evidence for all improvements marked LS1 based on Sections 7B and 7D of the schedule referred to above as the basis for negotiations with NLB in response to their draft assessment report of May 31, 2016 of P10, 468, 777,80 marked LS3.”

The assessments report amongst other shortcomings, Sebetela noted, had omissions on assets, wrong sizes and measurements of land fencing parameters.

“It did not comply with subsection 33 subsection 2 a-c of the Tribal Land Act which outlines the components of adequate compensation as (a) the value of any standing crops taken over by the state; (b) the value of any improvements effected to such land including value of any clearing or preparation of land for agricultural or other purposes-these should reflect full market costs of both land and other assets to allow to replace them and (c) the cost of resettlement-we are re-settling at sites from our current one,” said Sebetela.

He added: “(d) The loss of right of such land-this to us is the financial loss of investment in return that our family will lose as a result of the acquisition of our land. The feedlot (fully developed) and game farm (partially developed) will be lost permanently.”

NLB is represented by Olatotse Solomon Attorneys.



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