Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (MLMWSS), Bonolo Khumotaka, shocked many on Monday when she nullified all the results of interviews concluded in March for candidates who aspire to be members of the landboards around the country.
The term of Land Board membership is three (3) years and the tenure of the last Boards elapsed in March 2020. Khumotaka revealed that the ministry management had discovered serious inconsistencies in selection procedures used by all Land Boards emanating from Regulations which empower Land Board Selection Committees (LBSCs) to formulate their own procedures.
It emerged that the processes and procedures adopted by each LBSC during the selection process done in March differed substantially. "The anomalies led to inequities in the selection process, in some cases leading to the recommendation of unqualified candidates. Thus the current selection process is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue in a country instilled with good governance as a basic principle. Taking all these into consideration, the Ministry has resolved to cancel and re-start the whole process and further standardize the selection process across all Land Boards," said Khumotaka.
According to Khumotaka the decision to nullify the selection process was made taking into consideration the extremely important role that Land Boards have in ensuring that Batswana are served and assisted accordingly, as well as ensuring that the economy is revitalised after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. "In addition, the Ministry is the strategic implementing authority of the Transformation Agenda with respect to land reform and land management for greater economic growth and development," she said.
"The Ministry will re-advertise the position for Land Board membership in various media platforms. Eligible Batswana willing to diligently serve the nation and drive the Transformational Agenda for greater prosperity are encouraged to apply. The term of the previous Main Land Board Membership has been extended up to 31st August 2020 to ensure continuity of service," said Khumotaka.
In compliance with Tribal Land Regulations, the Ministry of Lands had in November 2019 invited the members of the public to apply for appointment to the membership of Land Boards. Interviews were conducted and recommendations made to the Minister for possible appointment as per regulations.
MLMWSS is tasked with,among others, ensuring proper land administration and management in Botswana, a critical asset, not only for economic development, but for sustainable management of the environment, equity and food security as well.
Land Boards were established under the Tribal Land Act,CAP 32:02 to hold tribal land in trust for the benefit and advantage of the citizens of Botswana and for the purpose of promoting their economic and social development.Thus prudent management of this finite resource is essential.