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Last Updated
Tuesday 03 August 2021, 12:07 pm.
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Land petition group not backing off

Members of the youth pressure group that plans to petition the Minister of Lands and Housing (MLH) Lebonaamang Mokalake have urged committee members not to despair but instead maintain the momentum of the movement.
By GOTHATAONE MOENG
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Land petition group not backing off








Attendees of a meeting held by the group recently at the University of Botswana (UB) urged the committee members to persevere with intention to petition the minister despite the challenges they are faced with.Publicity Secretary of the group Joe Serema, who addressed the poorly attended meeting, said some of their challenges include lack of resources as well as failure to reach people outside Gaborone and those without access to Facebook. The meeting was convened to update members on the draft petition which will demand that Mokalake make the provision of land and houses a priority for the people of Botswana, particularly the youth.

The demands of the petition are that the minister should make an urgent plan to provide residential plots to address the current application backlog, that the minister should commission a land audit for all types of land in the country - be it tribal, state or freehold land. The group also wants the Land Act to be amended as a matter of urgency, their suggestion being that government should consider imposing a considerable land tax on all unproductive freehold land in excess of 50-hectares.

"The tax should be so punitive as to force the land owners to either

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make the land productive, or release it back to the state.  We believe this would help free huge chunks of freehold land, particularly in the North East and South East areas where the situation seems to be even direr (sic). Government should realise that these pieces of freehold land are an opportunity cost to the state for as long as they remain idle and unproductive," the petition reads.

The pressure group also wants government to revise the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) mandate, to its original mandate of providing affordable housing to Batswana. During the meeting, Serema said the BHC has failed Batswana.

"BHC competes with the average Motswana for land, only to outprice them.  BHC is given land even in places where there is an application backlog," he said.Other demands are for the government to revise the transfer duty paid by first time buyers and absorb their conveyance fees, and that the ministry should come up with a housing scheme for the poor and disabled.

The group, which gained popularity on Facebook, seeks at least 50,000 signatures before handing the petition over to the minister. There was no mention of the date the petition is expected to be delivered.

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