Balete of Gabane-Mankgodi are planning to escalate their displeasure with Mogoditshane sub-landboard to President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The residents complain that the sub-landboard together with Kweneng landboard are taking them for granted by refusing to allocate them plots for many years. The other contention is the compensation for repossession of land which is done as per the 2010 Land Compensation Policy which they say is outdated and they are being robbed.
Area Member of Parliament Maj. Gen Pius Mokgware said they have been engaging the landboards and ministry of Land Management and Water Sanitation on their grievances with no success. The MP explained that as per the 2012 population statistics Gabane-Mankgodi is the most populated constituency in the country standing at 48 287 people.
“With such a number there are no developments here but we have land. It is only that because of corruption in our landboards the land is not used properly.
We do not have a senior secondary school, a primary hospital, sewerage line but we are just next to the capital city. We do not have commercial and industrial plots because of the way our constituency has been demarcated.
It was made in such a way that it would be just for residential. But even with those residential plots people take over 23 years to be allocated,” stated Mokgware during a media briefing this week.
The legislator said the constituency has been neglected for years when it comes to land administration. He revealed that according to information from Mogoditshane Sub Landboard the waiting list for people who have applied for residential plots in his constituency stands at 140 000.
“As we speak the landboard has stopped receiving applications for residential plots,” said Mokgware adding that currently people who applied in 1994 are the ones being allocated plots. The constituency consists of villages of Gabane, Metsimotlhabe, Tloaneng, Diagane (Mogoditshane Block 9), Tsolamosese, Lesirane and Mankgodi.
He said they have engaged former Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele over the land issues but have not got satisfying answers. This is why they now want president Masisi to intervene. According to Mokgware they have set up a committee to work with the landboard and the ministry for better administration of land in their area but there is no progress.
The MP indicated that they also made suggestions to Maele when he addressed a Kgotla meeting. “Our concern is the current Land Policy. The policy states that government has to service the land before allocation but what we know is that there is no money to do such. Under the current National Development Plan 11 Gabane-Mankgodi has not been catered for in terms of land servicing.
“So people who have spent over 23 years waiting to be allocated plots would have to wait for another additional six (6) years for another plan to be crafted. Now we have these policies and pieces of legislations that are not speaking to each other. Youth projects are failing because there is no land allocation. What the landboards are doing is what is fueling the increase of land speculators in our area.
“We have the landboard refusing to compensate at market rate but would give you less than P25 000 for a ploughing field and would allocate plots to people who would in turn sell a plot at P230 000,” Mokgware said.
He revealed that Gabane-Mankgodi community no longer wants to be given monetary compensation.
He said all they want is for the owner of the land to get 30 percent of the land while government takes 70 percent of the repossessed land. The community wants government to review the current land policy as it disadvantages them. “The people of this constituency are very hurt,” Mokgware explained. He said compensation has to be reasonable so that land owners especially those whom landboard is taking their ploughing fields, would not feel robbed.
A member of the committee that was set-up to negotiate with government on behalf of the community Lucas Tshukudu explained that they have sought audience with land minister and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to no avail. Tshukudu stated that the landboard has expressed interest in the ploughing fields in Gaphatshwa, Rabodibana and Diremogolo among others.
“We have set up this committee because we want the government to meet us half-way. People have to understand that we are not refusing with land but we are saying let the compensation be adequate. We once had a meeting with the landboard in 2016 where we put forward our demands of 30 percent to be reserved for landowner when repossession is being made. We are still waiting for their response to this day.
“If the landboard is considerate it would meet us half-way. I applied for land in 1996 when I was 21 years old and today I am still on the waiting list. My reference numbers have changed three (3) times. Our land management system has to be changed so that we are not disadvantaged,” pointed out Tshukudu.