Batswana desperate for land

MARAPONG: Since April 2, an overwhelming number of people thronged the Marapong Sub- Land Board to submit applications for residential plots in the 17 villages that fall under the land board. Land Registration Officer, Bapati Dijeng, explained the situation as surprising for them as it was the first time ever the sub land board got inundated with applications and the crowd was very uncontrollable. “It got to a point where we feared that violence could erupt and engaged the police to control the situation,” explained Dijeng.

She said it was evident that Batswana are in dire need of land as demonstrated by some applicants who slept at the land board in order to make the front of the queue in the morning. “This is just a clear indication that Batswana are desperate for land, some came from as far as Gaborone just to apply and some slept here. We have experienced this congestion since the first day of applications and the number is increasing everyday. We were forced to engage the police to help us calm the situation as it was becoming uncontrollable. We haven’t experienced any violence so far and that is because the police helped us a lot, otherwise I think we would be saying something else,” she explained.

Dijeng revealed that they had received about 4, 000 applications as of last week but the number keeps on increasing as people inform others about the exercise. She noted that half of the applications were for residential plots in Chadibe village in the western side of Francistown.

“We do not have any land available right now and this exercise is not for plot allocation as people think, it seems a wrong message has been passed on to them. Some think there is a deadline while in actual fact there is none, this was just a directive from the ministry explaining that we should open for registration not plot allocations,” she explained.

“It is from this exercise that we are going to prepare a waiting list and after we have found land, we will scan the list and select those who do not have plots anywhere in the country and allocate plots to them,” Dijeng said.