Lawyers argue that Ranyane village deserves recognition
Lawyers representing Ranyane residents in Gantsi area, have approached the Ministry of Local Government demanding Ranyane to be recognised as a formal settlement.
The lawyers; Onalethata Kambai of Kambai attorneys and Joram Matomela of Matomela attorneys have argued that it is important for Ranyane to be a recognised as a settlement to enable the residents to access services and developments.
“Formal recognition of Ranyane would unlock delivery of services like a health post or clinic and possibly a primary school in future,” contended the attorneys who further explained that Ranyane students have to leave the settlement to attend primary schools in Metsimantsho and Ncojane as there were no schools in the settlement.
Just before the last general elections, the government, through the Gantsi District Council stopped providing free essential services to the settlement with contention that Ranyane was a wild life protected area.
The services included clean drinking water, health services and temporary poverty relief programme (Ipelegeng).
Another contention by the council was that the residents were not so many to warrant recognition of Ranyane as formal settlement.
The 2011 population census counted about 163 people who were staying in Ranyane and according to the local development policy, the district council is not obliged to provide any services or developments until the residents meet a threshold of 450.
Water utilities have also refused to provide clean water as they argue that they only provide services in recognised settlements.
Nonetheless Kambai and Matomela claim that the settlement in question has more than 800 residents who regard Ranyane as their permanent place of residence.
“Like all other citizens some residents have migrated to cities and villages to seek employment opportunities because there are no opportunities in Ranyane,” explained Kambai, when confirming the formal request made to the Ministry.
Currently residents rely on a borehole for water. The residents who are largely unemployed, contribute funds monthly to buy diesel for the generator they bought after the council stopped services around 2012/ 2013 as a way of forcing them out of the area.
About 30 residents were relocated to neighbouring settlements of Bere and Metsibotlhoko. However, many of the residents then, resisted the “forced relocation” and successfully took government to court over the relocation.
Among other things, they wanted to be given clean drinking water and health services like other settlements in the country are enjoying.
The village chief, Nxere Phuti, then contended that their “case is that of a minority group which has been suffering from abuse, oppression and discrimination by the government of the day over a number of years for no justified reasons.”
Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Local government, Botlogile Tshireletso said the Ministry was yet make any decision regarding Ranyane.