Minister of Lands and Water allocates over 15 000 plots since April

The Ministry of Lands and Water affairs has allocated 15 914 plots in tribal areas between April and July against the 100 000 target or the 2022/2023 financial year. Minister of Lands and Water Affairs, Dr Kefentse Mzwinila said 51 272 tribal land plots were allocated in the last five years while 1 543 were allocated in cities, towns and townships during the same period. He said from this number, 167 were allocated in Gaborone.

Furthermore, the minister said although the current national application waiting list stood at 558 919 and 73 046 for tribal land, cities, towns and townships respectively, some applications were vetted and disqualified. β€œThe current application list nationally stands at 558 919 on tribal land, while cities, towns and townships the waiting list is 73 046 applicants, of which Gaborone alone accounts for 21 405 of all the received applications.

However, this is not a true reflection of those who require plots as an analysis of data from allocations made by the different land boards between April and July of this year indicates that an average 23 per cent of the applications vetted before allocations were found to be owning residential plots elsewhere in the country and thus should not be in the waiting list,” he said.

Additionally, Dr Mzwinila noted that property owners would be compensated through the new tribal land enacted this year, which made provisions for compensation at market rate. He said it would address challenges of land acquisition from ploughing field owners. He said other factors contributing to delayed land allocations included land delivery processes, which entailed land acquisition, development of layout plans, plot demarcations, survey approval, environmental assessments, application lists vetting and interviews. He also said acquiring land had financial implications which resulted in delayed plot allocations. β€œLack of funding to acquire land to augment either state land or tribal land is a challenge.

On average, it costs P20 000 per hectare to acquire land and preparation of base maps costs P4 000 per hectare. The cost of outsourcing preparation of lay outs costs P4 000 per hectare and conducting of strategic environmental assessments costs P3 000 per hectare while cost of surveying of a single plot is estimated at P1 000 per plot. Lack of financial resources to service plots because in terms of state land the plots have to be serviced before allocation,” he said. He further cited inadequate resources and failure by applicants to honour allocation invitations as contributory factors.

Gaborone North MP, Mr Mpho Balopi had asked the minister to state the status of residential plot allocation in Botswana and whether government was concerned about this. He also wanted to know about the current waiting period nationally and in Gaborone as well as the number of plots allocated nationally over the last five years and in Gaborone. Mr Balopi further quizzed the minister to state challenges in allocating land within a reasonable time so that people did not have to wait for over 10 years to be allocated land

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