The Minister for Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila and his Botswana Democratic Party colleague and MP for Serowe South, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi have said the land audit is unnecessary.
When debating Rantuana’s motion calling for land audit, both Mzwinila and Venson-Moitoi said the motion is redundant because the Land Administration Procedures Capacity and System (LAPCAS) is meant to address what the motion is seeking.
Mzwinila said once complete, LAPCAS has components that would help government attain efficient land management and administration. He said LAPCAS was not meant to address the long waiting lists, but to capture data for efficient land management and planning.
“LAPCAS was intended to identify our strength and weaknesses in land allocation and administration, collection of evidence on how land was acquired, where and for what purpose it is used, which also address the intentions of land audit,” said Mzwinila.He said with the LAPCAS already in place, there would be duplication and over stretch of resources. He said a number of factors contribute to the situation of high demand and long waiting lists such as rural-urban migration; shortage of serviced land and high cost of land servicing, limited capacity challenges and multiple applications.
Mzwinila indicated that government is faced with challenges such as finding readily available land for development, as it is difficult to negotiate with landowners.
land allocation because they apply for land to sell. The minister said the number of people who legally qualify to apply for land does not tally with the current number of people on the waiting lists, which creates a big problem.
When opposing the motion, Venson-Moitoi said if Batswana continue to sell land, the issue of waiting lists would not be addressed. She said an audit and LAPCAS could not be carried out simultaneously since they are different administration functions. She however, admitted that there are delays with LAPCAS as people are reluctant to register their plots.
She said LAPCAS would provide government with an understanding of the country’s land total value. Venson-Moitoi pointed out that some of the problems are self-inflicted as Batswana continue to sell their birth right. She said multiple applicants and land traders have crowded genuine applicants in the lists hence the long waiting lists.
“We cannot sell our birth right to foreigners because we are going to cry foul and claim we are landless,” she said.
“The thing we die for is our land. If we sell it for a copper coin, what are we going to have? It is the only thing that we have for free in this country and we should die for our land.” The debate on the motion will continue next Friday as the Parliament quorum collapsed just as MP for Sefhare-Ramokgonami and Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcas Makgato was on the floor. She had also indicated that she opposes the motion.