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Lelatisitswe in another land brawl

Yet another land-grabbing case involving the youthful Boteti East MP, Sethomo Lelatisitswe is pending before the Francistown Land Tribunal, Mmegi can reveal. Last year, he was embroiled in a land-grabbing case with 78-year-old Gaboitsewe Maphane as reported by this publication.

The latest appeal case, which was recently  heard, involves the sons of the late Tsietso Moitobi brawling for their father’s land, just a stone’s throw from Letlhakane village.

When the Land Tribunal convened May, the matter was swiftly postponed to a date to be announced this month after the court demanded that the appellant hand over written submissions.

However, the aggrieved objected to the demand saying he would honour the court provided the parliamentarian Lelatisitwe also observes court dates since he has not made any appearance, rather his lawyer solely showed up.

The case dates far back, and was initially considered by Letlhakane Sub Land Board, then the main Ngwato Land Board in 2015, ultimately ruling in favour of Lelatisitswe. Subsequently, the now postponed case was registered on March 14 at the Land Tribunal.

In their submission opposing the appeal, Ngwato Land Board, cited as the first respondent in the suit, said the appellant never possessed any rights over the land allocated to Lelatisitswe.

“The appellant’s claim is for a piece of land which they used purely as their homestead while at the lands contrary to the Botswana Land Policy which states that farmhouses (mekgoro) will be situated within arable and agricultural holdings.” 

The appellant, Mompoloki Moitobi, leading the family in their complaint, says while the ploughing field has a certificate, the residential area where they stay while tilling the land does not have one, as it is the case with multitudes others in the area. 

“This is land that was allocated when dikgosi spearheaded land oversight and they do not have certificates, it was allocated very long back to our forefathers and we have always used it.

“Our bone of contention here is that Lelatisitswe as a legislator must have helped and advised us to register the land rather than going behind our back to apply for the land without consulting us because he knew very well that we are using the land as a homestead for our ploughing field,” Mompoloki said.

When contacted, Constance Masuku of the Francistown Land Tribunal declined to confirm whether they were handling such a case.

“You must call the concerned parties individually. Last time a reporter from your office called on a related issue and got my junior in trouble. We were

summoned by the Ministry of Lands,” she said abruptly.

In an affidavit Mmegi is in possession of, Kgosi Onkabetse Modirwagale says the residential land in question at Motatawa farms rightly belongs to Tsietso Moitobi.

The written statement is in support to the Moitobi brothers- Mompoloki Moitobi and Franz Moitobi. Modirwagale further says he has known this as the land was allocated around 1941 when Letlhakane originated, and Moitobi Galekanokwe was the first occupant of the contested area.

At the time, he said, dikgosi were responsible for land oversight.

“When the old man died, the land was handed over to Tsietso Moitobi, and when he died it got into his sons, hands as it is practice,” he said.

“Ke supa ka botlalo ha lehelo leo le sa tshwanela go dirisiwa ke Rre Sethomo Lelatisitswe ha ba ke ba buang ba setse ba le dirisa ka go na le ko baga bone Rre Sethomo Lelatisitswe ba neng ba beilwe teng, e leng Rre Bohotheng le Rre Ntidi ba e leng batsadi ba batsadi baga Rre Sethomo Lelatisitswe.”

Loosely translated, Modirwagale said Lelatisitswe’s family was never allocated this land, rather they were given land elsewhere.   

When contacted, Lelatisitswe told Mmegi that the matter waas before the courts, hence he was constrained to comment.

“It is still in court. All my responses to the issue are contained in the Land Tribunal records so I can’t say much about this. You can consult my submissions,” he said.

Septuagenarian Maphane of Letlhakane is still awaiting her fate in a similar case, which was before the Francistown Land Tribunal last November. 

Maphane is accusing the legislator of trying to claim a residential plot she has been awarded since 1968, which she says is located in Letlhakane some distance away from her ploughing field.

“He expressed a bizarre interest in my plot and went behind my back to enquire about it. He was advised to come to me as the plot belongs to me to which he did.

I informed him that it is true the plot belongs to me, but he went back to Land Board and informed them that he had spoken to me and that I had given him the go-ahead to apply for the plot,” Maphane narrated in a previous press interview.




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