At the 14th Regular Cabinet meeting, held on Wednesday 22nd May 2019, His
Excellency issued a Presidential Directive Cab 14(A)/2019 to Cabinet.
Pursuant to the above-mentioned directive the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (MLWS) revised the Development Control Code accordingly. Planning Authorities and Land Authorities were instructed to comply with the revised development control code by the Minister of MLWS in a letter dated 11th June 2019 Ref: MWLS 1/11/15 IV(37).
We wish to petition your excellency on the following account:
1. On the 22nd May, Wednesday 2019, the President of the Republic of
Botswana, Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi issued Presidential Directive CAB 14A.
2. On the 11th October 2019, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Mrs Bonolo.E. Khumotaka issued a savingram to all stake holder departments in government confirming the above Presidential Directive and issuing guidelines to achieve the same.
3. On the 21st of August 2020 a savingram was served on the Council
Secretary of Kgatleng District Council dated 14th August 2020, titled
DEVELOPMENT PLAN (2012-2036) PROGRESS.
4. On the 2nd September 2020 Kgatleng Land Board issued a Moratorium on the receiving and consideration of change of use applications in the Oodi Subordinate Land Board Area of jurisdiction.
5. On the 18th September 2020 a notice was issued from the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services gazetting the whole of Kgatleng as a planning area.
6. On the 19th October 2020 a savingram was issued by the P.S LHWM , Mrs
Bonolo.E. Khumotaka to all Land Board Secretaries titled ‘Proposals of
Development on Agricultural Land’.
7. On the 20th of October 2020 the Director of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Ms Eunice Mmono issued an advisory note 1 of 2020 titled, ‘Suspension of guidelines for agricultural land use zone’.
8. On the 12th November 2020, the Director of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Ms Eunice Mmono issued a public notice offering clari ty on the advisory note 1 of 2020 issued on the 20th of October 2020.
9. On the 5th of March 2021 a letter was written by the Permanent Secretary
to the Office of the President Mr Ernest Phiri, responding to an appeal by some Kgatleng land owners, Ref OPC4/40/2 IX (33). The date of the 31st March 2021 communicated in the said letter has come and gone.
Effectively the summary of these official communications is that no one in Botswana is allowed to change the land use of their agricultural land into non agricultural use and subdivide it into plot sizes lower than 1 hectare. The state apparatus has moved to do the following.
• revoke in principle and in some cases indeed all previously issued leases that reflect a change of land use on agricultural land especially where there are subdivisions that yield plot sizes lower than 1 hectare.
• Suspend all issuance of leases for change of land use and subdivision approvals sanctioned by land boards and planning authorities.
• Defer indefinitely or reject all applications that pertain to change of land use and subdivision of agricultural land.
• Refuse the approval of survey diagrams that pertain to change of land use and subdivision of agricultural land.
• Refuse the registration of title or rights at the Deeds Registry that pertain to change of land use and subdivision of agricultural land.
• Halting businesses and developments that have infrastructure and employ hundreds even thousands of Batswana. A case in point the upward mobility industrial and commercial park of Mamashia.
• There are too many instances to quote of preferential treatment by Kgatleng Land Board, wherein they reject, revoke or they defer indefinitely applications and in the same breath approve similar or even identical applications. This practice of nepotism by the authorities of favoring one citizen over the other is unlawful and must be challenged to the fullest extent of the law.
• Breach unreasonably all the Service Level Agreement for land transactions that are boldly shared with the public on the wall of Oodi Sub Land Board.
• Kgatleng Land is overreaching its mandate and exercising change of land use powers within planning areas.
• Kgatleng Council is violating the Town and Country Planning Act that that regulates their work and is seeking consent from Land Board when they are the mandated authority.
• Instructions to demolish structures buildings with approvals have been issued to some members of the public.
The above is in violation of schedule 2 of section 19(4) of the Town and Country Planning Act, also suspends indefinitely the provisions of section 22 of the tribal land act, it is a complete violation of the Presidential directive Cab 14A and the guidelines amending the Development Control Code at section 5(4), 6(2) and Section 8.
The Kgatleng Land Board under the pretext that Oodi sub land board has no authority to preside and authorize change of land use have since suspended further land developments in Kgatleng of Agricultural land on that account. Whereas the Revised Botswana Land Policy of October 2019 at section 31 clearly states ……’Amongst the recommendations accepted with modifications was that the land board should remain corporate bodies responsible for land administration and that subordinate land boards be given authority to make
final decisions on all land use applications’, there is no regard at all given to
Statutory Instrument 87/2013 which specifically empowers sub land boards to render on all common law applications.
This is exactly what His Excellency was railing against and decrying in his
address to the nation on the 8th of May 2021 that these officials/technocrats are not only breaking the law, but are actively and brazenly sabotaging His excellencies stated policy, either in concert or individually, for political reasons best known to themselves.
To this extent we evoke the invaluable words of record, an extract from
The president’s address to the public on the 8th May 2021. It reads thus;
‘We find evidence of a political leadership that for the last 30 years, has increasingly fallen into the clutches of an underperforming public service that has grown more robust in obstruction than in productivity. We find an evolving culture of a democratically elected but increasingly pliable political leadership of the last three decades, held to ransom by groups of abrasive technocrats in lowproductivity mode, albeit with rising incidences of corruption. It is in our introspection that we find entrenched interests causing economic exclusion and denigration of our people, indigenous Batswana in particular, who are the
lowest in the food chain, so to speak…’
While there have been some notably positive outcomes, a litany of unfinished
or poorly executed projects fills the development road maps of the last 30 years like leaky sacksful of dirt on a neglected road. The mindset of our people has been pulverised by such negativity that a cancerous inferiority complex thwarts the ambitions of young and old. Truth be told, we have as a nation excluded ourselves from our own development.’
The above words clearly represent our collective outcry Your Excellency, It is in this spirit of deep civility and humility that we resolved to petition your esteemed Person and Office to right this wrong as the father of the nation, before the inevitable ensues.