Banika, Shamukuni hail major land victory

Kgosi Banika .
Kgosi Banika .

FRANCISTOWN: Kgosi Rebecca Banika of Pandamatenga village has hailed the recent major judgment of the Francistown Land Tribunal (FLT) that granted 266 households in Pandamatenga 2500 hactares of land.

Banika, who is recognised as the supreme traditional leader of San tribes in the Chobe District (CD) in the Ntlo-ya-Dikgosi, was challenging the decision of the Chobe Land Board (CLB) to reserve only 458ha of land to the Pandamatenga community instead of 2500 hactares which according to her was expected from the Pandamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development Project (PAIDP). According to court documents, Banika took the court route after CLB’s Board resolved to reject the claim for the 2500 hactares on the basis that there was no such undertaking in place but reserved four farms for the local community. The case’s background is that in or around 1984, Government of (GoB) allocated an area of 25,07ha to farmers in the Pandamatenga area with an aim to boost cereal production. “Later, the area became overwhelmed with high rainfall density which resulted in frequent flooding of the allocated land. This rendered traversing the fields impossible during the cropping season. As a result, the GoB commissioned a study to determine the most cost effective method of resolving the seasonal floodwater access road problems in the Pandamatenga farms. The resultant study report recommended construction of water drainage works and access roads as long term remedies. After cost estimates were made, the GoB required ADB to finance the project and this was met with success. An additional 2500ha of land was demarcated to leave the total area of farmland to the community affected by the project at an estimated 27,574ha,” as per the court ruling.

The ruling further says that the extra 2500ha has become a deeply contested issue between the Appellant and CLB. “The Appellant asserts that the 2500ha was intended to benefit 266 households existing in Pandamatenga as at 2008 in the allocation of the farmland by the CLB. On the other hand, the CLB denies the existence of any such undertaking. An advertisement of small scale farms in Pandamatenga under tender CLB/04/04 of 2017 by the Respondent prompted the Appellant to successfully apply for an interdict against the allocation of the reserved land. This interdict was granted pending a hearing before the CLB as the Appellant believed the land envisioned to be allocated included the 2500ha earmarked for Pandamatenga. During its board sitting on June 22 to July 2020, the CLB invited the Appellant for a hearing and after deliberations determined as follows (a): It acknowledges the Appellant’s submissions that it wants to be allocated the whole 2500.

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