LOSE-LOSE SITUATION COURT CASES
In its abuse of power and relentless efforts to disenfranchise indigenous citizens, the Kgatleng Landboard is disregarding all principles of good governance, in the process wasting government financial resources. This happens when all Government votes are dwindling due to covid and where financial prudence should be a critical priority for all Accounting Officers. The Land board is pursuing litigation that is destined for loss in any competent court and they know it.
So far, the Kgatleng Landboard and its parent Ministry has LOST 2 court cases, WITH COSTS, without even making appearances or defence as they have none. In another, third case that is on-going, the Kgatleng Landboard has not made any filing or appearance at all the hearings. In all these cases, Government pays for the careless loses. All these cases will ultimately be lost with costs to Government. The pursuit of the cases is driven by deep rooted jealousy (Lefufa la Setswana), vindictive personalities and hatred to see fellow blacks excelling. The other factor is that there is no consequence for this poor management and decisions. The Land board has surrendered its powers to the management. The management manipulates facts to mislead the Board, which in turn relies on the opportunistic law firms who create a business opportunity by giving advice that will create disputes and court cases. The Executive is warned of this fraud and to take urgent action to avert reputational risk and financial loses. There is no accountability in all these mediocracies. We expect more shocking decisions in the next board seating influenced by the lawyers for the known ulterior motive. The legislators and executive are on record in this current winter parliament decrying this conduct of government officials and some law firms.
THE ISSUE OF POWERS OF THE SUB LANDBOARD
At the centre of the decisions and court cases is a big fat lie regarding the powers of sub land board in respect of change of land use processes. Before we deal with the powers of sub land board we need to make it clear to the incompetent management and Kgatleng Land board that sub land boards exercise delegated authority of Land boards. Clients are not privy or responsible for internal processes of boards. This is a simple principle of law known as the Law of agency. The Tribal Land Act does not limit the powers of the sub land board hence there is nowhere in the sub land board regulations or Act where the subordinate makes recommendations. In any case, the Land board operates as an appellate body. Where would clients appeal decisions if the Land board is part of decisions made by its subordinate.
Section 31 of the Botswana Land board policy is clear where it says “Amongst the recommendations accepted with modifications was that Land boards 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”
It is embarrassing that when the document they issue on a daily basis (COMMON LAW LEASE) is expressly written that the Land use can be changed with written permission of Sub Land board, the Kgatleng land board still decide to go to court to establish the legal facts. The wording of the lease is pursuant to Statutory Instrument 36 of 2013 which grants the Sub Land boards power to issue and
vary common law rights. The Town and Country planning supersedes the Tribal Land Act in planning decisions. This is contrary to an unfortunate belief by Kgatleng Landboard that they have power to revoke planning decisions issued by the Kgatleng District Council. In the recent PAC meeting the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Lands was asked by the Honourable Member Mabuse Pule, what the cause of problems at the Kgatleng Landboard is, given the clear powers of Sub Landboard. The PS conceded that the Sub Landboard indeed has powers over change of land use. Her statement contradicts actions and court cases by the Land boards she oversees. This is regrettable leadership by the Permanent Secretary. It is not leadership that can drive progress and economic developments by citizens. Government officials embrace and support unlocking of value out of land when its perfomed by foreigners but greatly oppose it done by citizens. I call on and plead with the Executive in the name of the God of our forefathers to make corrective action soonest and avert the obvious.
Gilbert Sesinyi- Land Activist/ Registered Land Surveyor