Farmer and council clash over blocked road
A Lobatse farmer and his wife have been locked in a bitter dispute with the town council over a road.
A war of words between the two erupted early this year when council leased a piece of land to a foreign investor who decided to deny the farmer, Louise Herbest and his family access to their home through the property.
For over 20 years the Herbests used the road adjacent to the Lobatse High Court in Boswelatlou ward to enter their farm.
In 1928 government bought a piece of land from Herbest’s grandfather.
The land remained unutilized until this year in March when Milk Africa, an international company that produces and sells milk products acquired the land from council.
They decided to deny the farmer access to his home through their property. The move forced the Herbests to drive at least six kilomtres from the road to reach home.
“This road has been here for over 100 years. My grandfather used it. I used it for over 20 years.
I was never consulted when the town council leased the land to Milk Africa. They just closed the road without notice,” he fumed.
Lashing out at the Deputy Council Clerk, Oganne Gontse Herberst said: “Gontse has a personal vendetta against my family because we are the only ones denied access to the road. Other farmers are allowed to pass through that road to their homes.”
A visit by The Voice team to Lobatse witnessed as Herbest and his wife were being denied access to their farm by Milk Africa security guards.
“How do you deny us access to pass through to our farm, without any proper explanation?” he asked accompanied by his wife.
The deputy council clerk Gontse however said it was unfortunate Herbest does not have access to his farm.
“We have asked him to forward his request in writing. He should state why he should be allowed access to that road.
He took the council to court and he lost the case, but we are still amenable to negotiations,” he said.
He further explained that Milk Africa has a lease agreement with Lobatse Town council that spurns over 25 years.
“We are charging Milk Africa P100 000.00 per annum as rental fee. And the lease fee is tentative.
That is each year there is an increase of lease fee by 100%,” he explained.
“The council will earn 10% dividend from profits accrued.
In the event that Milk Africa does not make profit the council will receive P1 Million per year end. (Financial),” he explained.