- Says it has neither funding nor an opportunity to fundraise for the matter
- Offers to try and secure pro deo assistance for the indigent tenants
The Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo), does not have funding or an opportunity to fundraise for the house matter of former BCL employees, Director Alice Mogwe has said.
She said this in response to a letter from the Leader of the Opposition (LOO), Dithapelo Keorapetse, seeking the intervention of Ditshwanelo in the matter by possibly interdicting the BCL liquidator and the government from evicting tenants of BCL houses.
“Currently, the organisation does not have funding to take up this matter before the courts,” reads the Ditshwanelo reply to Keorapetse’s letter.
“We had not been aware of this issue and received your letter on 15th September 2023. We therefore have no opportunity to fund-raise for this action. We shall however try to find pro deo assistance.”
Socio-economic and cultural rights
The rights organisation says it is open to further engaging with Keorapetse for finding alternative ways of assisting the BCL employees and that Ditshwanelo remains committed to ensuring that human rights are protected in accordance with their national, regional and international human rights instruments and principles.
It notes that it has been calling on the government to ratify the international Covenant on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights continuously and to domesticate the covenant by enshrining socio-economic and cultural rights, including the right to decent or adequate housing, in the Constitution of Botswana.
Acting in view of an August deadline by which the ex-BCL employees were to have made offers indicating their willingness and financial capacity to buy the houses, Keorapetse wrote to Ditshwanelo urging for a special dispensation to avoid the ex-BCL employees – who are financially challenged – losing the houses.
Keorapetse sought to obtain the intervention of Ditshwanelo because the matter is a human right issue in that the evictions would result in massive homelessness.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing BCL, Tebogo Mapitse has already written to the tenants who failed to indicate their willingness to buy to vacate the houses no later than 30 September 2023 and hand over the keys.
“We are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that you together with anyone on the property at your behest vacate and return the possession of same to our client together with all keys, no later than September 30,” they wrote.
“Be advised that in the event you do not abide by the foregoing demand, we would hold instructions to approach the High Court to seek an order for your immediate ejectment from the property.”