Kweneng Land Board has admitted that land corruption and illegal occupation have been two major problems in their Board, which have subsequently slowed down progress of land distribution and allocation.
“Land corruption is our major problem and often it is our employees that are implicated in massive land corruption. It is not just assumption because many of them have been caught, brought before disciplinary action and we have had many court cases because some were dismissed from work,” he said.
Kgang explained that most of the land corruption committed by their employees comes from farms. He said the board makes the resolution to repossess farmland from owners in exchange of compensation and that before the transaction takes effect, it is employees who would grab the farm so they could benefit.
He said the employees would go behind the Board’s back and be the ones grabbing the farms and then in return either give the owner some plots around their area knowing very well that it is illegal.
“Officers acquired ploughing fields through transfers without declaring conflict of interests even though they knew that it was not procedural to do so,” he said.
On illegal land occupation, Kgang said there has been an increase in their district, especially around areas of Tsolamosese and Mogoditshane.
He explained that the eviction of squatters was halted since 2016 after there was an order to consult with political leaders.
“In 2016, Land Boards across the country were verbally instructed to halt eviction of squatters by the lands ministry [of Land Management, Water and Sanitation services] pending consultations with political leadership. There were some court orders and evictions that were already served on the affected squatters by the board at the time the evictions were halted,” he said.
Kgang pointed out that since then there have been no consequences for the illegal occupants and that more people are continuing to occupy land illegally and in turn ask the board to pardon them and regularise the plots.
He mentioned that from April 2019 to January 2021 there have been 137 illegal occupants registered by Mogoditshane Sub Land Board and that most of the affected areas are Tsolamosese, Mogoditshane, Nkoyaphiri, Mmopane, Ledumadumane and areas near Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School.
“Out of the 137 illegal occupants, 50 have been profiled, mapped and information pertaining to squatters profiled for presentation to the board,” he said.
He added with the rise in squatting, the Board was considering forming squatters management teams comprising all the key stakeholders, who would work together to combat squatting.