Government has taken a decision to engage the private sector through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to service land on its behalf, said Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele.
The lands ministry was in April this year allowed through a cabinet decision to start utilising PPP. Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is the custodian of PPP. Maele revealed on Tuesday this week that land servicing is very expensive for government hence the decision to offload it to the private sector. He told a press conference in Gaborone that government has approved the PPP Strategy in land servicing and housing development. “This is intended to accelerate the pace of providing access to serviced land and housing by the private sector. We have consequently identified four areas for piloting the PPP strategy.”
These areas are Kgatleng, Kasane, Ramotswa and Francistown involving 7509 plots for bulk servicing. In terms of minimal servicing, he said they will service 29430 plots across the country. Maele said bulk service includes everything among them, water, electricity, tarred roads and sewerage. He stated that minimal servicing will include gravel roads, water and electricity. The minister stated that this would be undertaken under the new Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) introduced by President Ian Khama this past Saturday. According to the minister P100 million will be used for the bulk servicing of 7509 plots while P242 million will be for the 29430 plots under minimal service. Maele said his ministry is undertaking one land servicing project in Palapye which will yield a total of 3159 plots.
“More often than not when I address Kgotla meetings the issue of land servicing becomes a hot potato. It is our responsibility to service land but I tell them land servicing is expensive. For instance, the Palapye service project cost in the region of P360 million. I always tell my colleagues in Parliament that in order for me to service land in Botswana I possibly need the country’s budget for the next five years because it is expensive,” emphasised the minister. According to Maele those individuals who will have the capacity and the capability will be allowed to service land and an agreement will be reached with government so that private land servicer could recover his or her costs. He said even those who want to service and develop will be allowed to benefit from the PPP. Maele stated that government alone cannot and will never be able to service land.
Maele,who is also the Member of Parliament for Lerala-Maunatlala, said in order to facilitate land management parliament has approved the National Land Policy during the July 2015 session and implementation has commenced. He said his ministry through various land boards has recorded 996, 303 applications, “Not vetted though,” in the waiting list published by various land boards including the department of lands. “These waiting lists will continue to be vetted up to and including the time of allocation to determine eligibility,” he said. The minister said in undertaking this initiative the ministry is mindful of corruption that is rampant within various departments. Maele acknowledged that his ministry is one of those corrupt departments but assured Batswana that he is prepared to root it out.