Tlokweng tribal leaders have critized the stance adopted by government and Tlokweng Land Board Authorities when addressing complaints about land and conflicts of Batlokwa.
Speaking at a breakfast seminar hosted by Tlokweng Land Board on Tuesday Batlokwa Deputy Paramount Chief Kgosi Michael Gaborone said there are several pending issues that the land board is yet to update Batlokwa about. The seminar was organised to update Batlokwa and other stakeholders on the progress made in the LAPCAS project in Tlokweng and other land isssues. The seminar degenerated into a complaints platform as livid Batlokwa tribal leaders accused the land board of taking their plight for granted as far as land issues are concerned.
Kgosi Gaborone taunted Tlokweng Land Board for having failed to safe guard the interest of Batlokwa in the course of executing their mandate as the land administrators in the Batlokwa tribal land. Gaborone bemoaned that the land board allowed suspicious land transfers which were done by moneyed unscrupulous people who took advantage of the financially challenged native people of Tlokweng. This land grabbing according to Gaborone has over time deprived Batlokwa of their fundamental need; that of owning land and shelter.
According to the Deputy Paramount Chief, Batlokwa have now lost trust and faith in Tlokweng Land Board and were likely to carry out many activities without consulting the land authority due to fear that, they might end up being victims or worse landless.
Gaborone argued that this bad faith between the people and Tlokweng Land Board was bound to counter whatever positive initiative the land board were to implement in the Batlokwa land. “ Yes I agree the people should comply with terms and conditions but their interest should always take priority as far as the land question is concerned,” he said.
Sharing his deputy’ sentiments Batlokwa Paramount Chief Kgosi Puso Gaborone bemoaned that the rampant land transfers in Tlokweng were a challenge not only to the land board but to the Bogosi as well. Because most of the transferred plots were owned by people who in most cases are not residing in Tlokweng and are only using them to rent out. This he says led to the village being ungovernable.
Tlokweng land board is currently in the process of implementing the LAPCAS project, LAPCAS project is a five year partner driven cooperation arrangement between Ministry of Lands and Housing(MLH) and Lantmäteriet, the Swedish Mapping, Cadastre and Land Registration Authority.
The overall development objective for the institutional cooperation is a successful social and economic development of the nation of Botswana, based on efficient, effective and transparent land administration.
Though LAPCAS is due for completion next year, its implementation and adjudication is said to be way behind schedule. This according to Tlokweng Land Board, Principal Land Surveyor Nehemiah Tokonyane is due to reluctance of people to come forth to register their plots.
Tlokweng board Secretary Roseline Kedimotse however highlighted the fact that this operation was only meant to verify ownership and asserts legally held rights. She said the exercise would not by any means lead to repossession of plots , as that was a different exercise that has been happening even before LAPCAS land registration started.
Land registration according to Kedimotse will eventually facilitates land audit that many batswana had for a long time been seeking, he however emphasised the fact that LAPCAS focuses on land registration not audit.
Among the positives that will be brought forth by LAPCAS according to Kedimotse is that the new LAPCAS certificate will now be used as a collateral, thus there will be no need to apply for conversion to common law rights to get a loan from a financial institution. The certificate will also be enhanced with security features thus will be less susceptible to fraud.