- Those aggrieved over Tati land should consider the rule of law
- Claim they have title deeds and have agreement with the government
FRANCISTOWN: Tati Company has warned politicians that are calling for the expropriation of disputed Tati land to take into consideration that the land was not acquired fraudulently, and that there is need to apply the rule of law. The company says its critics should understand that there is an agreement between themselves and the government of Botswana on their ownership of the land.
Francistown councillors have threatened to use all possible avenues to reclaim the vast tracts of land, owned by Tati Company, which surrounds Francistown. Manager Ogaisitse Khama dismissed the notion that the company owns large proportions in the North East District.
In a heated meeting between the councillors and company representatives, the politicians called on the company to relinquish its title in the land because they argued, the land is Batswana’s birthright. In support of their contention they allege that the company cannot claim the ownership of the land they fraudulently acquired during colonial era. The councillors agreed in unanimously agreed to a resolution calling for the repossession of the land from the company. The resolution, according aggrieved councillors, will be presented to the Minister of Lands who will ultimately table it before Parliament for further debate.
In their response to the call for the expropriation of Tati land, the company’s Manager Ogaisitse Khama warned those who made the petition to avoid being emotional when talking about land redistribution. Khama said those who feel aggrieved over Tati land ownership should follow the rule of law if they want to reclaim the land. “As the company we have realized that there is lot of misconception among the people who are calling for expropriation of this land. Those who are calling for the repossession of land should not be emotional because the company has tittle deeds of this land and has made an agreement with the government,” Khama cautioned.
The Company owns 44 000 hectares of land which is on the northern and southern outskirts of Francistown. The land is held in portions amounting to 22000 hectares of land in the North of Francistown while 20 000 is in the southern part of the city.
Khama stated that the critics of the company have to understand that Tati Company was purchased from its colonial originators by its current owners Bernard and Sam Glazer. Public documents reveal that the Glazer family acquired Tati Company and The Bechuanaland Exploration Company in the earlier 1950’s, almost a decade and a half before independence. According to Khama, the Glazer family donated or sold, at nominal value, all the company’s undeveloped land in Francistown and almost all its agricultural land in the North East district to Botswana government. “As a result approximately 95 percent of the North East District including all the undeveloped land in Francistown came to be owned by the government and third parties, not the company. So, the notion that the company owns a large proportion of the North East District is therefore incorrect. Government also acquired all the company’s mineral rights for a nominal amount based on its decision to own these rights throughout the country,” the Company Manager revealed that the last agreement between the company and the government was signed in 2006.