News

Basarwa lose High Court case seeking restoration of services

By: Mpho Keleboge

Basarwa of Ranyane settlement in the Gantsi District have lost a case in which they were seeking court to compel government to restore provision of fuel, mobile clinic and water services in their area.

This follows government’s decision to unceremoniously terminate provision of fuel, mobile clinic and maintenance of a borehole engine which was supplying them and their livestock with water.

Delivering Judgment, Justice Terence Rannowane revealed that Ranyane is an unrecognized settlement situated within a wildlife management area.

He said the provisions of services which include water and Ipelegeng program were a temporary arrangement and all the rightful beneficiaries and consumers were aware of it.

Justice Rannowane found that the termination of services was done in accordance with the rules of natural justice more so that prior to termination, the affected parties were consulted in a series of kgotla meetings and the residents were aware that the services were temporary.

Rannowane said the residents had not disputed that there was a team led by Council Secretary, Nelson Molepolole and the evidence led shows there was consultation before the termination of services.

He said the evidence advanced by Ranyane residents is that at least substantial portion of them were never residents of Ranyane and those who settled there knew that the provisions of water and other services was a temporary arrangement pending identification of suitable settlement for their relocation.

Rannowane said the termination of provision of diesel and of the engine at Ranyane was legitimate.

When advancing their argument in court papers, 58 year old woman, Heebe Karakubis and 114 others had explained that the decision to terminate services was made primarily after government realized their refusal to relocate to Bere.

The resident said this emerged in 2012 after Gantsi District council, accompanied by Landlord and Department of Wild life officials addressed a kgotla meeting at Ranyane where the subject matter was the relocation of Ranyane residents to Bere settlement without their will.

They said, on the 01st May 2013, Gantsi District Council were engaged in a house to house campaign where they were advised to relocate or suffer the consequences as the government intended to terminate the provision of services by way of removing the borehole engine amongst other services.

The resident had submitted that government had a legitimate expectation that they would continue to enjoy the services provided by the government uninterrupted and that in the event of any decision adversely affecting their enjoyment of the services, which can be taken by the council, they would be entitled to a hearing before such decision.

The residents have also tried to historically explain that during 1960s an artificial insemination camp was set up at Ranyane for cattle in Gantsi and a borehole drilled with government taking care of its maintenance and fuel.

They said in 1992 they asked for an engine and it was granted, with government taking care of all cost relating to the operator of the engine and the maintenance of it.There was an installation of headman of arbitration 1998 but everything changed to negative when in 2012 they were forced to move to Bere without their will.

But judge Rannowane said after gathering all the evidence, there is enough evidence that consultation was made to stop some services in Ranyane because it is not recognized by government.

“Following extensive consultations and decisions was justified by the fact that in the long term it was not sustainable to water large number of livestock owned by farmers and the fact that the settlement was within a wildlife management area,” he said.

He added that “I also find that the termination of Ipelegeng/drought relief program was done in accordance with the rules of natural justice.”

Rannowane then dismissed the application suggesting that residents of Ranyane would then have to voluntarily move to Bere or suffer the consequences of staying in a settlement without basic health, social and other related services.