In the wake of a dispute between Balete and Malete Land Board over a 2,000 hectares farm, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has advised the $700 million (P7 billion) wielding investors to seek land elsewhere.
BITC chief executive officer, Meshack Tshekedi said in their endeavour to promote Botswana as an ideal destination for both, domestic and foreign investment, they were approached by a consortium of local and foreign investors with a view to investing in Botswana.
“In line with our standard normal procedure for facilitating investment, the project proposal went through scrutiny and appraisal which subsequently led BITC to engage the Malete Land Board in order to facilitate the investment. While awaiting response from the Land Board, BITC observed that there might be a dispute over the said land, nature of which is unclear,” he said.
Tshekedi said when initially approaching the Land Board, the institution was not aware of the dispute between Morafe and the Land Board. “Therefore, BITC would not like to be entrapped in the dispute or disagreement. We consider both stakeholders critical to economic development within the Bamalete Tribal territory. Upon discovery of this dispute, BITC has since advised the promoters to consider alternative location for their investment,” he said.
With regards to the specific questions, which wished to establish who the said investors were, and their planned investment, Tshekedi said it is not BITC’s policy to divulge internal company information to third parties. One of the investors who The Monitor had identified from Alebeng Investments Aaron Dikgole had referred the publication to BITC for information pertaining to the investors and the specifications of the project.
The BITC Act of 2012 is to, amongst others, become an integrated Investment and Trade Promotion Authority (ITPA) with an encompassing mandate of investment promotion and attraction, export promotion, and development, including management
Through its critical role within Botswana’s economy, BITC further encourages domestic investment and expansion, promotes locally manufactured goods to regional and international markets, contributes towards improvement of the investment climate through policy advocacy, increases citizen participation in the economy and creates sustainable job opportunities.
Balete Kgosi, Mosadi Seboko last week told journalists that Balete had resolved to fight the suit filed by the Malete Land Board and go as far as the International Court of Justice if they lost in local courts. The Land Board is suing Seboko and the Gamalete Development Trust for the title deeds to Kgale Farms.
Deputy Kgosi, Tsimane Mokgosi said the Land Board informed the tribal leaders that a deal had been reached in 2014 with Alebeng Investments in which the company would pump P7 billion into a “seven star hotel, state-of-the-art golf course,” and other developments on a portion of Kgale Farms.
Kgosi Mosadi and the Trust refused to hand over the title deeds, citing their historical ownership of the Farms, Balete’s existing land shortages and the lack of compensation reportedly desired by the Land Board.
According to available documents, Kgale Farms dates back to 1925 when Balete bought a farm known as Forest Hill 9KO farm for investment purposes. The tribe contributed to raising the £3,000 required to purchase the land from Aaron Siew.
In the same year, a title deed was issued by the Deeds Registry in the names of Kgosi on behalf of the tribe. To this day, the title deed is in the name of Kgosikgolo for and on behalf of the tribe.