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BDC’s multi-million pula complex kicks off on former squatter camp

PAULINE DIKUELO
Block 5 Squatter camp PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) through its subsidiary, Residential Holdings, is moving ahead with what is expected to be a state of the art multi-use complex on a 77-hectare piece of land formerly inhabited by squatters.

Located in Block 5 behind Grand Palm Hotel, the development will see a mix of single-family residential plots, multifamily residential plots, a commercial centre, a school as well as civic and community plots for sale to citizens and citizen-owned companies.

According to the Corporation’s Public Relations Unit, the BDC was allocated the 77-hectare piece of land to transform the property market in the area through the development of high-end mixed-use development.  “Progress on-site for the construction of the Block 5 boundary wall Plot 29062 is currently estimated at 98%,” officials told BusinessWeek in a brief response to questions. “Through the construction of the boundary wall, 12 jobs were created being the construction company that is currently on site constructing the wall.

“More jobs are anticipated once the larger development commences.”

However, the corporation did not comment on the timelines for the project or the budget that has been set aside. The latest developments follow a

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protracted battle between the BDC and scores of squatters which began in 2010 when the Corporation discovered that there were illegal settlers who have been living on the property since 1989. An application before the courts was instituted and the court ruled against the squatters who were told to vacate the place. Despite several engagements between the Corporation and the community, the squatter community refused to leave as they had grown steadily, fuelled in part by the fact that the 77-hectare plot lying west of the Grand Palm complex appeared to have no owner.

 In 2012, the BDC granted 28 squatters who voluntarily moved P10,000 each in ex-gratia payments designed to help their relocation. BDC’s planned project for the area was deferred and some of those who had left returned, including some who had received the ex-gratia payment. According to the court papers, BDC was allocated the land in 2003.



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