Block 5 residents take multi-million Pula developers to court over the land they are being evicted from
Forty-eight Gaborone families are facing homelessness following the order to move out of their residential plots to give way to a multi-million Pula estate and golf course.
The residents are, however, not going down without a fight. Today, Friday, the illegal occupants of lot 29062 in Block 5, which border Gaborone and Mogoditshane, would be at the Lobatse High Court seeking to block their intended eviction.
It is a battle of David and Goliath, as the poor residents find themselves against the might of Botswana Hotel Development Company (PTY) LTD. The company was granted the lease to the land by government seven years ago and now intends constructing a residential estate on 20 hectares and an eighteen-hole golf course on 72. 5939 hectares.
While the developers have a title deed to the large piece of land, the illegal occupants of the plot, which they have name Se ke Motse (This is home) ward, contend that naturally the land belongs to them. Most if not all say they purchased the land from a certain Mafumo, now late, who claimed the land was his field.
“I bought this piece of land in 1990, raised my family in it and have no other home to go to. This company was granted the title deed years later and I wonder what they had in mind when they noticed that the land they were being given was already occupied?” rhetorically asked Chaza Sithole, 37, who shares his home with his wife and five children.
Febi Mafumo, 71, is overcome with shock at the prospects of living in the streets together with her 10 other family members.
“Where will I go? Our future is in the mercy of this company and in the hands of the court,” was all the old woman could say when The Voice team visited her at her shack house this week.
Sixty-six year old Khabenyana Olefhile revealed how she struggled to put up her two-roomed house since she bought the plot in 1990 adding that the other room was her source of income as she was renting it out.
But this does not concern Botswana Hotel Development Company, which has to utilize the land it paid millions of Pula for at a fixed period state grant.
On June 7 this year the company’s board of directors resolved that the company institute proceedings against illegal occupants of their plot.
In the filling notice, the company demands that the defendants pay legal fees and argues that despite lawful demand the defendants “refuse, neglect or failed to vacate lot 29062, Gaborone.”
Although the company was granted the title deed in 2003, another defendant Jacob Basupi contends that residents of Se ke Motse should have been given the title deed way before 2003 as they had been promised by several government Ministers.
“I have been a resident of Se ke Motse Ward, Mogoditshane and we were promised by several Ministers of Lands and Local government and Housing that we shall be given title deeds as other settlers of Mogoditshane who have been given the same right,” read part of his filling notice.
Oarabile Pitso of Oarabile Pitso attorneys would represent the defendants while Sebego Sharma and Company would represent the developers.