Maele Urges Farmers to Pave Way

| May 6, 2015

Affected owners of farming lands around Morupule Coal Mine have been urged to put national interest first and make way for the envisaged mine expansion.

The expansion will require some substantial piece of land, something that would displace about 156 arable farmers, according to the Minister of Lands and Housing, Mr Prince Maele.

Speaking during a kgotla meeting in Serowe on May 5, Mr Maele appealed to the farmers to let national interest supersede their individual interests.

“We know and respect the fact that we have allocated you those farming lands, but that land is now needed to address a national need,” said Mr Maele who added that government understood that the lands were a means of production for the affected farmers.

Mr Maele told a packed Serowe main kgotla that government intended to build a power plant and hence needed more coal for the project, a project that was aimed at rendering the nation self-sufficient in power. He said ultimately Botswana would export its power to neighbouring countries.

Though he conceded that there was shortage of land to relocate the affected farmers, the minister appealed to farmers to exercise patience as his ministry would address their grievances.

While admitting that compensation for the fields could not be equivalent to a purchase in full value, Mr Maele encouraged lands owners to identify spaces where they could be allocated ploughing fields.

He warned those who could have created rapport and steady relationships that they could be separated as currently there was no huge chunk of land to allocate them.

Consequently, the minister appealed to the general public to help counsel the affected farmers who were expected to make way for national projects. He also promised to call a meeting with the affected farmers and address them following the consultation at the kgotla.

In their comments, some residents such as Mr Rasebolai Kgamane promised that farmers and Morupule Coal Mine understood the sensitivity of the issue and were in consonance concerning the development in question.

He however, warned against sidelining farming over power needs saying there was a likelihood of food shortage in 2050 and hence needed ploughing fields to address the threat.

Former Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mr Keletso Rakhudu, said since the company was going to benefit immensely from their lands, they too deserved better compensation.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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