SEROWE: Squatter camps have become an eyesore in Serowe where some members of the community have resorted to illegally apportioning themselves pieces of land for shelter, as land authorities' allocation ensues at a snail's pace.
Concerned villagers raised the issue of the emergence of squatter camps with former president and the Bangwato kgosikgolo, Ian Khama and his younger brother Tshekedi Khama, who both were addressing the community at Makolojwane Kgotla recently.
Squatters are apparently emerging in Makolojwane and Marulamantsi wards. Lindani Mathumo, who was complaining about noise in the area, raised issues of environment pollution from some members who dispose of waste in the nearby bushes and the lack of a decent police station.
He put it to the Khama brothers that in some areas behind the Khama family house some people are illegally apportioning themselves land. “In some bushes behind your house a squatter camp has emerged and it is growing very fast,” he said.
“These (squatter) camps usually end up as crime hubs, and we don’t even have an apt police station in Serowe. Our police station is old and doesn’t have enough holding cells let alone a proper consultative area.”
Olebogile Motsamai, also a member of the community, complained of the land authorities’ slow issuance of residential plots and said it contributes to squatting. She said she had long applied for land and she is still waiting for a response from the authorities.
“These poor living conditions contribute negatively to our children’s education. My family doesn’t have a place to stay, but I have long applied for land. I don’t even know where to turn to because if the authorities say there is no land then there is nothing we can say, but we still have to live,” she said, requesting that the leaders take the matter up with the Land Board.
Serowe Sub-Land Board chairperson, Molefhe Madikwe, who was called to respond to the matter acknowledged the growing number of squatters in the village. He admitted that land allocation could be a cause, but cited it is a national issue.
He said currently the waiting list in Serowe Sub-Land Board is at 30,670 and the last time they had allocated residential plots was in May 2016. He said since the last allocation the Sub-Land Board still has not been allotted an area for residential plots.
Madikwe said the problem of squatters in the village is not new and the numbers of squatters are already above 300. Madikwe said they have identified the squatters and they have engaged the sub-district council to assist with profiling them.
He said after consultations with some squatters they have realised that amongst them, there are those who voluntarily moved from their family dwellings and chose to squat.
“We have advised them against the consequences of squatting and to get back to their places, but there are others who have absolutely nowhere to go and we are making arrangements to source some places for them,” he said.