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Hands off our land!!

Even though only a handful attended a Kgotla meeting called by the South East District Council (SEDC) to solicit their input in the reviewed Tlokweng Development Plan 2001- 2025, Batlokwa were loud enough that they were against the plan.

Chief amongst their points of objection is that the proposed plan would take away their remaining farming land in Mabutswe to make way for 20,000 residential plots. Currently, there are 65,000 people in the waiting list for residential plots, while there is little land left for plots to be allocated.

SEDC on Saturday brought Ralph Chephethe of GIS Plan to explain the proposed plan to Batlokwa and solicit their recommendations before the plan, which cost P3.2 million could be finalised. As if they had caucused, all those who stood to speak rejected the plan and proposed that they be allowed to have a meeting as a Morafe and give feedback at a later date.

First to rise was Kgosi Matlapeng, who accused the government of trying to steal land from Batlokwa. He also lamented that though input was sought from them as Dikgosi, their plea was not heeded to.

“These people are abusing us. They moved people from Letlapeng lands and compensated them peanuts. They then went on to allocate multi-residences to people without considering those they moved. We cannot allow the same to happen to those in Mabutswe. If they were genuinely planning for Batlokwa, they would take back land from Brink and also Ruretse as the land was not taken from us rightfully,” he said.

Matlapeng said it was unfair that while other Merafe have land for farming, Batlokwa were expected to lose their farming culture to outsiders scavenging for their land.

Then rose another resident, Moitaletsi

Katse, who angrily demanded that the consultants should go back and allow them to review the plan on their own. “You cannot just come and try shove the plan on us. We need to sit on our own and discuss it after carefully studying it. We are tired of being the most hated tribe in the country. They always take from us and we get nothing in return. Please just go back and allow us to discuss this as a Morafe,” she said.

All other speakers supported the move, lamenting that they feared losing their remaining farming land. “We will not allow you to take away our land. You took Gaborone Dam, Old Naledi, Maratanang, Letlapeng and now you want Mabutswe. The most painful thing is that people are not compensated well,” he said.

In summing up comments from his people, Kgosi Puso Gaborone agreed with Morafe that things were not done accordingly.

“Planning is very important. We need developments in our village as everyone elsewhere. However, the consultation came late. We had asked when they started as to when Morafe would be consulted. Their timing is very wrong as they come to us when they have concluded their plan. As my people have said, I will set May 19 as a date for us to meet as Morafe to discuss the plan,” he said. Gaborone called on those who attended to invite others for the meeting stating that it was a crucial one.




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