Tati Land Board optimistic to receive portion of purchased land

Tati Land Board chairperson Machola PIC LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
Tati Land Board chairperson Machola PIC LESEDI MKHUTSHWA

MASUNGA : Tati Land Board (TLB) chairperson, Fidelis Machola has expressed optimism that they will get a stake from the recently acquired land from the Tati Company (TC) in order to alleviate land shortage.

This comes after government recently announced that it had acquired 45 000 hectares of land from the TC at a cost of P1.4 billion. Over the years, the North East District (NED) has been experiencing acute shortage of land because the TC owns vast tracts of land within the area. The issue of land shortage in the NED has been a political hot potato with the opposition parties accusing the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government of not doing enough to buy back land from the TC to alleviate land shortage in the district. When addressing members of the fourth estate, Machola emphasised that the land, which was acquired by the government, will remain State land and is not tribal land.

Machola added: “We are still hoping to receive a portion from the 45 000 hectares of land.” He had previously reported that with the exception of Farm 55OQ, the government had also purchased 20 freehold farms to increase the tribal area. According to Machola, the region spans about 25, 214 hectares, and the same freehold farms are mostly utilised for grazing with some also being used for tourism. Additionally, Machola stated that plans are afoot to make it easier to issue land titles when necessary, adding that work is currently underway to prepare detailed land uses within these areas. Machola explained that the NED currently encompasses 43 villages across a land area of 3, 636 square kilometres. “This represents 61% of the 5, 960 square kilometers of land that makes up the NED. Freehold land makes up the remaining 2, 324 sq/km (or 39%).The The Bamangwato Tribal Territory to the south and west and Zimbabwe to the north and northeast, are the administrative boundaries that the district shares with them,” he continued.

According to the 2022 population and housing census, there are currently 69, 395 people living in the NED. Machola added that the board was able to allocate residential plots during the 2022–2023 fiscal year even though the land had not yet been registered in the Land Information System (LIS). The TLB chairman continued: “The Land Board was able to allocate 6 082 plots out of 6, 511 plots, or 93% of the planned target. Furthermore, 429 plots are still waiting to be allocated in order to achieve the 6, 511 target.” “The 455 residential plots that will be allocated are in the villages of Botalaote (357), Gambule (48), and Gungwe (50). It is anticipated that these will be distributed in December 2023 and January 2024,” he said. In addition, Machola stated that the Board is currently surveying some plots adding that some have already been surveyed and are waiting to be registered at the Deeds Registry. He said that the 7, 833 plots, which are made up of 6 436 residential plots, 828 ploughing fields and 549 plots for other land uses such as business, civic, and community plots, have all been surveyed and some are waiting to be registered.

According to Machola, 2, 931 residential plots have been surveyed and are waiting to be registered at the Deeds Registry in a number of locations, including Botalaote, Gungwe, Gambule, Nlapkhwane, Mapoka and Mulambakwena. Additionally, Machola disclosed that 1, 984 plots in the villages of Butale, Mowana,Tsamaya, Pole, Ramokgwebana, Matshelagabedi, and Makaleng are scheduled to be surveyed between December 2023 and March 2024. He added that 1, 521 residential plots in Mbalambi, Kgari, Masukwane, and Siviya had been surveyed and submitted for examination. In addition to the residential plots, Machola indicated that the board also targets to allocate 828 ploughing fields in villages such as Masingwaneng, Mambo, Matsiloje and Patayamatebele. “In the financial year 2021/22, there were 10 infill base maps, which were prepared and submitted to North East District Council (NEDC) Physical Planning for preparation of detailed layout plans. The affected villages include Mambo, Sechele, Vukwi, Mosojane, Jackalas 1, Masunga, Senyawe, Matopi, Patayamatebele, Ditladi Villages and Farm 21OQ for small agricultural holdings,” he added. Machola asserts that the layouts are waiting to be processed and approved by the NEDC, after which they will be submitted to the Land Board and surveyed during the 2024–2025 financial year.

In addition, Machola stated that 11 new base maps will be created and submitted to the council in order to start the process of creating detailed layout plans for the 2024–2025 fiscal year. “The Board has recently evaluated and discovered land required for village expansion. Right now, the Board has identified and valued 32 properties, totaling 146.13 hectares valued at P6, 196, 050,” he continued. Machola, however, bemoaned that the Board is owed lease arrears amounting to over P20 million. The TLD has a total number of 4, 231 leases, which comprises commercial, industrial, civic and community, agricultural, mining, churches and multi-residential plots,Machola said.

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