Mogoditshane squatters stand up to landboard

Daniel Chida

I am mobilising people who are under Mogoditshane Sub Land such as Gabane, Mmopane and Metsimotlhabe to try and get a court order which will allow us to appoint an external forensic auditor-Kgoroba

On a cold winter morning this week, the Illegal settlers in Mogoditshane township came face to face with Kweneng Land Board Officials and the infamous Yellow Monster (bulldozer) which came to demolish their houses.

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In a tense confrontation that threatened to turn bloody, a sizeable brave crowd stood between their houses and the Yellow Machine as angry youths overpowered a handful of police officers meant to restore order. The angry crowd then grabbed the keys and forced the driver out of the bulldozer while police watched helplessly.

A memorable moment from the demolition scene would have to be when a young mother stood in front of the bulldozer with a baby on her back forcing landboard officials to retreat and abandon their mission. The Voice has since been informed that the squatters have been given a month to peacefully vacate the place or face eviction at a later date yet to be set.

The Voice staffer, DANIEL CHIDA engages the man at the forefront of the demolitions, Kweneng Land Board Chairperson, Kgang Kgang and a few other politicians to give their side of the story on the ugly scene.

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Mogoditshane squatters stand up to landboard

Kgang Kgang- Kweneng Land Board Chairman

Section 6 of Tribal Land Act allows the Minister of Lands and Water Affairs to intervene and give directions, directions which will not be consistent with the law and he used those powers and asked that we encourage people to vacate on their own.

The Minister also asked us that where people have not started building houses, we remove the poles for demarcation and allow the construction of a Rural Administration Centre to go ahead instead of waiting for the whole area to be cleared.

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After the Minister’s intervention, our board met and agreed with the direction we were given and encouraged people to move out on their own. We have many squatters including churches which will be forcibly moved too.

Moeti Mohwasa-Head of Communications for Umbrella for Democratic Change

If you look back, we didn’t have many squatters in 1966, the ruling party has failed to effectively provide land to its citizens. It is only the poor who are always victims of squatting. We should have a common agreement and not be punitive at all times.

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Access to shelter is one of the human rights basics and therefore government should have penalties on compassionate grounds instead of destroying people’s only shelter. Where will they get the funds to start building their homes again, government policies have failed.

Kagelelo Kentse- Botswana Democratic Party’s Head of Communications

Much as the BDP is a caring party and compassionate to the citizens, it is important that the rule of law apply such that we do not set wrong precedence that might bring more trouble in future. We however do agree with the engagement that people must be given a chance to put their things in order and vacate.

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Sedirwa Kgoroba- Former Member of Parliament for Mogoditshane

The problem with our land board is that it has been under staffed for a long time and this causes serious backlog and the same backlog creates a gap for corruption. So in 2018 I wrote to President Mokgweetsi Masisi asking that we speed up the backlog by hiring two or three times the staff we had or shutdown land board offices for two years while pushing the backlog and bringinging everything up to date.

The President never responded but it wasn’t my resolutions but those from continuous meetings that we had with the land board officials and the community. The same gap created by the backlog opens up space for certain officials and board members to identify or acquire land and sell to the people. We are not going to get correct information unless a forensic audit is done but we cannot rely on government to do it for us.

I am mobilising people who are under Mogoditshane Sub Land such as Gabane, Mmopane and Metsimotlhabe to try and get a court order which will allow us to appoint an external forensic auditor to come and do it for us. People must know the truth, they must know why they are not getting plots despite having applied in 1993/1994 when but those who applied in 2000 have already been allocated land. I am also still consulting to get a true story behind squatters because something fishy is happening.

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