Botswana: Ministry Explains Land Acquisition in Okavango Delta

Gaborone — Acquisition of Land by the State in the Okavango delta is in accordance with section 32 of the Tribal Land Act.

The Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services in press release quotes the act which states that if the President determines that it is in the public interest that any land the ownership of which vests in a land board under Section 10 should be acquired by the State, the minister shall serve notice on the land board and district council, and request that such land be granted to the state.

It also says that the land board may then having ascertained the views of the district council on the matter, grant such land to the State.

It also declares that it is therefore in line with the law for government to acquire portions of Tribal Land that covers a portion of Moremi Game Reserve (NG/28) and NG/21 in the Okavango Delta, for the benefit of the public. The resultant area gives a total of about 22 029.2 Hectares.

The release states that the piece of land in question is being acquired for the establishment of a secure state/government facility for tourism purposes. In doing so, the acquisition ensures that the current land use of the area is not conflicted with or adversely affected.

It further states that this is not the first time government would be converting Tribal Land to State Land or vice versa.

"The Mining towns are examples of tribal land which has been detribalised for public interest. In addition, some farms have also been detribalised for direct administration and management by government," says the release.

The ministry further states that a consultation process is being followed for the proposed acquisition. The critical stakeholders that are being consulted include the Tribal Leadership, who were consulted on the May 28, and had asked the government to accord them an opportunity to consult the tribe.

The land board and the district council have also been consulted.

The Tawana Land Board was consulted on April 11 this year while the North West District Council Executive were consulted on April 12.

The North West District Council executive were to present the request to the full council. The process of consultation is ongoing, the release adds.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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