Basarwa of Boteti decry state ill-treatment

Nicholas Mokwena
Friday, 20 April 2018
NEW VP... Slumber Tsogwane NEW VP... Slumber Tsogwane

Basarwa from Boteti region have high hopes on newly appointed Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to attend to their plight in the area, When Tsogwane was Minister of Local Government and Rural Development they complained about the ill-treatment they receive at the hands of government officials over the land that they occupy. 

Recently a delegation was sent to Tsogwane who is also Member of Parliament for Boteti West to air their grievances and seek his intervention as local government minister. Now that he has been elevated they have hopes that Tsogwane will use his influence to deal with wayward government officials especially council officials, District Commissioner and land board officials who continue to relocate them from one area to the other and take over their land without consultations.

In an interview with this publication Khwedom Council Public Relations Officer, Banyatsi Salutu said Basarwa are being ill-treated in the only areas they have known for most of their lives. He explained that whenever they try to find answers they are sent from pillar to post.  

He said the council has taken upon itself to ensure that they fight for the rights of Basarwa in Boteti. According to Salutu residents of Makolwane settlement have been forced out of the area to Metsiaela settlement. He said the reason for their relocation has not been communicated to the affected residents.

“We believe some of the relocations are politically influenced. When we ask the council or the District Commissioner we are never given a proper answer. They also want to move residents of Makgama to Mosu. Makgama is located few kilometers from Mosu. 

“These residents are only considered or get attention from government when it is elections time. 

At first they said they were squatters but in the wake of the 2014 general elections their relocation was abandoned and now they are back at it again. They would say they cannot bring developments and other necessities but when it is election time all the resources would be availed,” Salutu posited. He added that they currently do not know where to go because the matter was taken to Office of the President, Ngwato Land Board and Letlhakane Sub-Land Board, but nothing has been done.

According to the PRO, about 400 people have also been moved in Tsutsuga village to pave way for farms for small stock farming. 

The farms are expected to be allocated soon. He said the officials who undertake these exercises never produce any written document but just communicate by word of mouth.  Salutu said if Tsogwane and his government continue to ignore them they would be left with nothing but to boycott next year’s general elections, as they are only known during elections to put people in office.

 Central District Commissioner Berenice Mosime was not available for comment as she was said to be sick.

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