Land needs careful management

Over a hundred experts in land administration are gathering in Gaborone this week to discuss causes of corruption in land allocation.

Some of the participants come from as far away as Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, and the Asia continent. They have one thing in common – concern over corruption in land allocation.

They spent the rest of yesterday sharing experiences from their countries and trying to find a  solution to the land problems. Some of the most important issues they raised were lack of public awareness on what corruption entails, lack of freedom of information law, as well as lack of political will to resolve the problem.

In our backyard, we learned a number of applicants waiting to be allocated land, that was initially standing at hundreds of thousands, has now exceeded the country’s population of two million. In other words, there are more than two million applications that still have to be processed by the Land Boards around the country. This excess will obviously add more pain for some people who have been waiting for more than 15 years for their applications.  It should be noted that land is a very important commodity that should be handled with utmost care, otherwise the security of this nation, and its future will be put at a high risk.


We would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our land administrators to learn from their colleagues from other countries on best methods to employ to deal with high demand for land. They should also learn best practices on service delivery. With a population of just over two million, it is disturbing to hear that our Land Boards are unable to process land applications within a reasonable period of time. It is also disturbing that in this age of information technology, we still do our recording manually. Land allocation is a serious matter that has potential to slow down the economy, and it is therefore critical for our information to be kept electronically.

The fact that there are more applicants for plots than the country’s population is a clear indication that land speculators are running havoc and they have spread their ‘wings’ sending applications to all Land Boards across the country.

However, we should not be shy to commend ourselves for putting measures in place to make it difficult, or impossible for transfer of land from Batswana to foreigners; the sale of undeveloped residential and business plots.

We should not hesitant to protect our country’s future like others are doing. Just last year, South African president Jacob Zuma made it clear that his government was not going to allow land ownership by foreigners, obviously after observing that there was a serious danger in that practice.

We have to do it to protect the future of our grandchildren.

Today’s thought

“The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts”.

 

- Margaret Mitchell

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