Residents of Ralenyeletse, a settlement on the outskirts of Botshabelo location in Selibe Phikwe will soon be evicted to make way for horticultural farms that will be facilitated by the SPEDU. SPEDU is currently busy trying to embark on numerous initiatives to try and breathe life to the ailing economy of the town which was crippled by the closure of the BCL mine in October 2017.
The Patriot on Sunday paid the residents a visit to get the gist of their imminent eviction from the land they occupied since the early 60s. Most of Ralenyetse inhabitants are impoverished, live in shacks and are unemployed. Many survive through the Ipelegeng programme. Those who know the history of the place say at first it was used as ploughing fields but as time went on many people came and settled there. One resident, Naledi Madimabe told this publication that she has lived all her life at Ralenyeletse. “I was born and raised in this place. This place is what I call home. I do not know where I will go if government decides to evict us,” the seemingly distraught Madimabe pointed out. With teary eyes, Madimabe went on to say that they have not received any formal communication from government about their imminent eviction. She claims that they are occupying the land lawfully as they possess all the necessary documentation.
The 51 year old Madimabe indicated that they are not even aware if government will allocate them new plots once they are evicted. “We will fight to the bitter end. Government is ill-treating us,” she held. Another resident, 61year old year old Mica Madome observed that they are not even aware if they will be compensated for their property once they are evicted or not. Madome mentioned that most of Ralenyeletse inhabitants are impoverished and therefore they do not have the financial power to construct new houses once evicted. “As you can see, most of us are living in shacks that we built with the little resources we had. It will be heart breaking if government will demolish our shacks without compensation,” the soft spoken Madome averred. “All squatters in Selebi Phikwe were demolished but Ralenyeletse was spared because we are occupying this land legally. We have been given water tokens and we are able to fetch water in public stand pipes at Botshabelo,” he proclaimed. Madome insist that government should find an alternative place where to relocate them.
The youthful Mokganedi Doctor says they are now living in fear after learning that they will soon be evicted. Doctor claims that they have never been addressed by their political leaders about their impending eviction. “We are just in suspense because our future hangs in the balance. We do not know where we will go if our looming eviction finally materializes,” he said.
Outgoing Selibe Phikwe East, Member of Parliament, Nonofo Molefhi said to the best of his knowledge, residents of Ralenyeletse were long compensated for their land. “Only those who occupied the land legally were offered compensation and they were told to vacate the land. The residents then decided not to vacate the land as they decried that compensation offered by government was inadequate, but that is neither here nor there. Government offered them compensation after conducting an intensive assessment,” he said. Molefhi stated that he has been in consultation with Lands Ministry to try and find out how Ralenyeletse residents can be assisted, as a humanitarian act.
Selebi Phikwe Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa echoed Molefhi’s sentiments that the residents were long compensated. Molosiwa buttressed that currently the residents are illegal squatters.