- Kgosi Mosadi Seboko calls Morafe for April state land-grab case
- Potential sponsors confirm interest in case
The Balete chieftaincy is discontent over the tribe’s crowd-funding scheme meant to finance the legal battle against the State over the seizer of their freehold farm, the remainder of Farm Forest Hill 9-KO purchased in 1925.
The case is due before the courts in three months and it is understood that despite appeals by the leadership to the tribe for a P100.00 contribution, not many have been forthcoming in recent times.
The government wants the courts to allow them to expropriate the land from the tribe, a move vehemently opposed by the Balete tribe who have already written letters to potential sponsors to foot the bill as they intend to litigate the matter at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
Speaking to this publication, Kgosi Mosadi Seboko said she doesn’t want to divulge more on the issue as she has decided to call the Morafe to deliberate on the issues, “I have called Morafe over all those issues and I do not want to discuss the issues with the media before I can share them with my people,” she said.
The reluctance to support the ambition to fight the matter to the bitter end could hamper the tribe’s wish to retain the land.
Gamalete Landboard has approached the High Court to order for the nullification of Deed of Transfer of the farm. Effectively this means that the farm which was always a freehold farm will be handed over to the Land Board to administer.
In a letter in possession of by this publication, distributed to various potential sponsors, signed by Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and Matshidiso Fologang-the chairperson of Gamalete Develoment Trust, the duo says after a series of consultative meetings, the Morafhe has decided to litigate the matter at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
“We have sought legal representatives from highly trained Barristers in the United Kingdom. As a trust with limited funds at our disposal, the Morafe should contribute a minimum of P100.00.”
Balete lost the case at the Court of Appeal after the government appealed the Lobatse High Court judge Key Dingake ‘s judgement to rule in favour of Balete in 2010. At the time, Quarries Botswana wanted Justice Dingake to declare that the conduct of GaMalete Development Trust and Tshepo Phuthego, in preventing them from traversing Forest Hill farm, by placing a boom across the entrance to Forest Hill farm, was unlawful.
But Justice Dingake dismissed their application, saying Forest Hill farm belongs to GaMalete Development Trust as reflected in the title deed, and that any person or entity claiming ownership must show that the said farm was duly transferred by a deed of transfer, or duly acquired in terms of the law.
“This court has not been furnished with evidence suggesting that the title deed of Forest Hill farm was ever passed to any entity as required by the Deeds Registry Act,” he said.
He further said the fact that part of Forest Hill farm is located in Bamalete Tribal Territory does not automatically mean that it is governed by the Tribal Territories Act.
“The Balete tribe, as represented by Gamalete Development Trust, and Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, are the registered owners of Forest Hill farm,” said Justice Dingake.
While the route through Forest Hill farm has been used by the public for the last 30 years, he said, there is no evidence to suggest that Quarries Botswana can be regarded as a member of the public, especially when taking into consideration the nature of its operations.
However the case took a dramatic twist upon appeal when it was taken to court of Appeal where the CoA found that the tribal territories Act actually expropriated the land from the Land Board.
In the recent decision to expropriate the land, the government say they now want the land back but Balete through their lawyers say the government should follow due process and negotiate with them.