About 100 frustrated Kgatleng landowners on Tuesday delivered a petition on the change of agriculture land use to the office of the president.
On Monday, they reported some employees of the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, and Kgatleng Landboard to the police for violation of the penal code.
According to Gilbert Sesinyi who spoke on behalf of the petitioners, President Masisi had issued a directive in 2019 to allow Batswana to change the use of their agricultural land into non-agricultural use.
He said last year October the Director of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Eunice Mmono issued an advisory note on suspension of agricultural land use zone guidelines.
“Effectively these official communications summarize that no one in Botswana is allowed to change the land use of their agricultural land into non-agricultural use and subdivide it into plot sizes lower than 1 hectare. The state has moved to among other things suspend all issuance of leases for change of land use and subdivision approvals sanctioned by land boards and planning authorities. They refuse the registration of title or rights at the Deeds Registry that pertain to change of land use and subdivision of agricultural land,” said Sesinyi
However the unfortunate thing, Sesinyi noted was that some people had already changed the use of their agricultural land and built houses, and instructions to demolish structures buildings with approvals have been issued to some members of the public.
He said they have complained in most offices and did not get help hence their last option of writing a petition to the president.
One of the petitioners, Victoria Molete said she got approval from Kgatleng Landboard to change the use of her land.
She then used the approval of change of use letter to acquire a loan from the bank and when the project was halfway done, Land Tribunal revoked the approval.
“The intention was to pay back the loan with money from the project rental and I am now stuck. This is why we are asking the president to intervene because the banks are calling. Landboard is not giving us answers to why the approval was revoked,” said Molete
Press Secretary to the President Batlhalefi Leagajang confirmed that the petition was delivered at the Office of the President.
He said it will be given attention once it reaches the president’s desk.