Lands & Housing eyes P806m from stimulus package

Poverty squatters
Poverty squatters

The Ministry of Lands and Housing expects to draw at least P806 million from the country’s foreign reserves, in order to service the 37,000 plots countrywide targeted under the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP).

Of the various ambitious projects contained in the package, land servicing has drawn the greatest attention from land-hungry Batswana who have often clashed at land registrations or allocations at the different land boards.

Yesterday, Lands and Housing minister, Prince Maele told media that preparations for the servicing of the plots under the package was already at an advanced stage. He said a recent assessment of the national waiting list for land allocation revealed 996,303 names.

“We will undertake bulk servicing of 7,509 plots in some areas of Kgatleng, Kasane, Ramotswa and Francistown and in terms of minimal servicing, we will service 29,430 plots across the country,” he said in response to Mmegi enquiries at the briefing.

The allocation for land servicing under the ESP is expected to boost the stagnant allocation of plots, which has resulted in scores of cases at the Land Tribunal and frequent violent clashes in some areas. Maele said the ministry was fine-tuning its processes and expected to kick-start the ambitious project soon.

“We have identified four areas for piloting involving the 7,509 plots for bulk servicing,” he said. In the current financial year, out of the targeted allocation of 22,000 plots, the various land authorities have allocated a total of 9,148 plots to date. Land servicing on 3,159 plots is ongoing in Palapye funded from the February budget, while the servicing of 1,960 plots in Metsimotlhabe has been stalled by litigation with respect to procurement processes.

The minister said transparency around the national waiting list had also been enhanced in order to eliminate corruption and facilitate accountable land allocation. The ministry is presently investigating 21 corruption cases.

“We are the first to acknowledge instances of corruption in land allocations and we have gone a step further to combat corruption and facilitate transparency in land allocation,” he said.

From October 1, all land boards started publishing waiting lists for applicants, giving land seekers an opportunity to study them.

“These waiting lists will continue to be vetted up to and including the time of allocation to determine eligibility,” he said.

The process will eliminate land speculation, Maele said. “We are well aware that this figure includes land speculators who are searching for every opportunity to grab land. We will in the not too distant future capture all the waiting list in their stardust system which will filter out those with plots registered in their names and land speculators.”

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