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Compensation-in-kind land policy raises eyebrows

INNOCENT SELATLHWA
PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
Early last year, Mogoditshane Sub-Land Board announced that when one surrenders his or her ploughing field, he or she would get six residential plots as compensation. This was coined into a policy called compensation-in-kind. While residents ululated at the development, a new trend of land grabbers emerged and the policy has since been paused. 

Some critics question the Mogoditshane Sub-Land Board’s system stating that it goes against the one-man-two-plots policy.

“There is no justification for six plots and it’s not systematic. Our people have been in the waiting list for years now and their stay in the waiting list has just been extended by this nonsense that they are engaging in. Old people are selling their ploughing fields to these vultures and the thieves go to Land Board to hand over the ploughing fields against transfer of many residential plots to their names,” one critic bemoaned.

Residents of Mogoditshane, Gabane, Mmopane and Metsimotlhabe are furious that the Land Board has since suspended the arrangement. It is understood that this was because the land authority was receiving an influx of people buying the ploughing fields at around P100, 000 a hectare and selling all or most of the six residential plots for around P250, 000 each.

One of the advocates for the policy, former Gabane- Mmankgodi legislator Pius Mokgware is disappointed.  “We fought hard for this to happen looking at trying to align the compensation with the value of the land. The government compensation was too little looking at the fact that we are close to the city. I am disappointed that the Land Board has paused the arrangement saying it is making people rich,” he said.

Land Resolution, a committee representing those falling under Mogoditshane Sub-Land Board, has vowed to take the fight to the land authority over the stoppage of the handing of the plots. According to the committee’s vice chairperson, Game Sengwatse, they believe the Sub Land Board is doing everything wrong.

“We were shocked to get a Savingram from Kweneng Land Board suspending the handing of ploughing fields without any consultation with us. We want them to allocate those who have already submitted and grant them six plots as initially agreed before we can go back to talks,” he

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Sengwatse complained that besides the stoppage, they had issues of mistrust with the Land Board. “There are transparency issues and we want to know how they do things. Some people who handed land in October have already been allocated their plots while some who handed in April are yet to have their plots. Others are told to get their plots in batches, which is unfair,” he said.

Sengwatse further decried that the Land Board in October decided to give people a single plot for a hectare as compared to six plots.

He also said they were unhappy that they were allocated plots away from their ploughing lands stating that they prefer that one be allocated their six plots from their fields. He also said they want to be allocated commercial plots where their land is zoned for commercial and industrial purposes.

A Savingram from Kweneng Land Board Secretary E. Moanametsi states that the Land Board calls on Mogoditshane Sub-Land Board to bring its final recommendations concerning review of the compensation in kind policy, which is currently in place.

“The Sub Land Board is further instructed to submit a detailed report on land acquired after the introduction of compensation in kind policy, detailing the total number of plots generated from such land, total number of plots allocated to various groups (land rights owners, their children, those in the waiting list etc). The report should also indicate the amount of land lost to allocations made to land right owners. Furthermore, the report should provide guidance that will enhance the Main Land Board to make an informed decision,” reads the Savingram.

Moanametsi further instructed with immediate effect, the Sub Land Board to halt inviting applicants for interviews, considering their applications, physical allocations and any other related activities (transfers, change of use, consolidation, sub leasing) until the review of recommendations has been considered and approved by the Kweneng Land Board.



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