Mmamashia Landowners Take Battle To Gov't

Some of the petitioners PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Some of the petitioners PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

Three weeks after submitting a petition to the Office of the President, a group of over 100 landowners in Kgatleng have lost patience and will now pursue other means to an end. Briefing the media recently, group spokesperson, Gilbert Sesinyi said they have since decided to amongst other things institute legal proceedings.

Sesinyi said they found it fit to explore other avenues in a move to have government cancel their change of land use approvals granted to landowners by the Oodi Sub Land Board.

“We’re tired of public servants who do not want to do their job. We waited for the response for three weeks already and we feel a week was enough for the President to act.

“We have thus decided to explore other avenues, which include reporting senior government officials to the Police for neglecting their duties; reporting to the Ombudsman to look into our issue, engaging Members of Parliament through their All Parties Caucus, as well as seeking intervention from Ntlo ya Dikgosi. That is not the end of it. We are happy that many Batswana relate to our plight and are coming forth. We have now decided to open an office to deal with land issues. We also have a team of legal experts assembling a team that will institute legal proceedings just like Balete did,” Sesinyi said.

In their letter to the Ombudsman, the frustrated landowners want the office to investigate whether the Kgatleng Land Board moratorium on the receiving and consideration of the change of use applications in the Oodi subordinate area of the jurisdiction from September 2 and October 31, 2020, was lawfully instituted and whether a retroactive application is lawful and/or reasonable.

They also want the Ombudsman to investigate how the moratorium which expired in October 2020 was lifted in May 2021, and what authority the Kgatleng Land Board used to refuse applications for the change of land use on the period between October 31, 2020, and May 23, 2021.

The landowners further want the Ombudsman to determine if citizens are expected to be privy to internal regulations and processes of the Land Boards, if it is reasonable for Kgatleng Land Board to make adverse decisions against clients for internal reasons, and whether the Land Board has the legal authority to revoke its own decisions at the detriment of clients, particularly where developments and infrastructure have been made.

“The Ombudsman is requested to investigate and make a determination on whether the director of Surveys is acting lawfully and in good professional conduct to refuse to assess the applications submitted to his office without any lawful ground,” state the landowners.

Similar concerns were raised in letters to the Speaker of the National Assembly and Ntlo ya Dikgosi calling on them to intervene as the yellow monster looms for properties worth billions of pula.

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