Govt disarms Sebetela in P26 million land saga

  • Invokes compulsory acquisition clause to grab the land
  • Sebetela sets his last hope on Court

TEFO PHEAGE

The state has invoked the compulsory acquisition clause in the Morupule Coal Mine (MCM), Ngwato Land Board and former cabinet Minister, Boyce Sebetela saga as the only solution capable of putting an end to the continuing dispute.

The mine is expected to supply a total of 1.35 million tonnes of coal at 100 percent to the Independent Power Producer (IPP) per annum has been subjected to a long dispute following the rejection and counter rejections over land compensation awards.
The Ngwato Land Board secretary, Molebedi Khuduego has confirmed to this publication in an email response that “the state decided on the acquisition of land for Morupule Coal mine expansion on the 11th of February 2019.”

The constitution and the Tribal Land Act permit the state to compulsorily acquire land required for public purposes.

UPIC

“If the President determines that it is in the public interest that any land the ownership of which is vested in a land board under section 10 should be acquired by the State, the Minister shall serve notice thereof on the land board and the district council, and request that such land be granted to the State, and the land board may then, having ascertained the views of the district council in the matter, grant such land to the State” reads part of the Act.

Government has long warned that the delay to the project at Morupule will have significant cost consequences for them and other parties involved in. Government claims that it is deemed to be of national importance as it will enable government to meet its projections for Botswana’s power consumption.

Washed coal products (clean coal) are consumed by various customers locally (hospitals, schools, breweries, abattoirs, clay brick manufacturers etc.), with the bulk of the washed coal sold to regional markets in RSA, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
Despite the government raising the public interest red card, Sebetela has not taken kindly the government move to invoke the acquisition clause and is challenging it at court citing bad faith in negotiations. He is represented by Sechele KK attorneys while the Ngwato land board is represented by Olatotse Solomon attorneys.

Seed

At the centre of the dispute over the compensation to Sebetela for his land has been various evaluations given to the property The Land Board. Sebatela claims that of the various evaluations done by the Landboard he wants to enforce the compensation given at between P26 and 27 million, a claim refused by other stakeholders.

Morupule,fiercely protested the figure and did their own valuation of the land which confirmed an earlier Landboard valuation of P6/7 million. MCM is said to have expressed a concern that an award based on the P26 million evaluation would set a bad precedence for future similar compensation cases.

MCM warn that setting a precedent for compensation at such amounts will make land acquisition for mining projects in the future very expensive and that it will have a negative impact on all land valuations for all subsequent mining projects.

MCM holds a mining license over tribal land in Botswana, falling within the jurisdiction of the Ngwato Land Board where it intends to develop a new open cast mine which will supply an upcoming extension of Morupule B power station with coal