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Minister defends Land Board appointees

MINISTER: Mzwinila

Saleshando to table a motion calling for reversal of appointments

The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila has defended the partisan appointment of Land Board Members, saying they meet all the requirements of the provisions of the Tribal Land Act.

Mzwinila was responding to Maun West Member of Parliament (MP), also Leader of the Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando this week in parliament.
Saleshando had asked the minister why he chose to appoint Land Board members who do not conform to the requirements stated by the Ministry in their public communication inviting citizens to apply for membership.

In response, the Minister told parliament that all appointed Land Board members meet the requirements of the provisions of Tribal Land Act, its regulations and those stipulated in the advert.

The appointment of Land Board members across the country raised eyebrows as known members of the ruling party were appointed as members.

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The advert had initially stated that applicants should not be involved in politics hence Saleshando sought clarity on what the Ministry considers to be ‘active involvement in politics.’

“My ministry considers active involvement in party politics as making public political statements, partaking in political party campaigns and rallies while serving as Land Board member or in a public office,” answered the minister.

He said the Ministry decided to remove the requirement that prospective applicants should not be involved in active politics because the restriction was unfair.

“Thus every Motswana, irrespective of political affiliation was given the opportunity to apply,” the minister said, adding that upon appointment, the contract stipulates that appointees should not be active in politics while serving in the Land Board.

Saleshando further asked the minister if any members were not shortlisted, to which Mzwinila answered that some were not shortlisted for the interviews.

“Statutory Instrument No.29 of 2017 allows the Minister to appoint to a Land Board, a person who is not in the list of candidates submitted by the Land Board selection Committee,” said Mzwinila, adding that the Statutory Instrument was applied in situations where there was a huge difference in qualifications, experience, competencies or geographical representation of villages.

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Furthermore, the Leader of Opposition asked about the rationale of overlooking younger applicants with tertiary qualifications in favour of the older applicants with inferior qualifications and no experience in and administration.

Mzwinila said it is not true that younger applicants with tertiary qualifications were overlooked in favour of older applicants with other qualifications and no experience in land administration.

The minister said out of the entire Board members appointed, he appointed 94 youth out of which 90 hold tertiary qualifications, with 62 being women and 32 men.

On Friday, Saleshando is expected to table a motion before parliament calling for the reversal of appointment of individuals to land boards who were politically active in the five years preceding their appointment.

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