The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting this week revealed astonishing figures about the number of applicants on land allocation waiting list approaches 700, 000.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Bonolo Khumotaka revealed to the committee chaired by Selebi Phikwe West Member of Parliament (MP) Dithapelo Keorapetse that the ministry is currently grappling with a land allocation list of 620, 661.
Of this number, 337, 956 are females which represent 54.5% of total applicants waiting to be allocated land across the country.
The remaining 282, 705 are males or 45.5 of the total applicants.
The majority of those in the waiting list are the youth between the ages of 18-35 years who account for 59 percent of the total figure followed by those between the ages of 36-50 years who represent 30 percent of the total number of figures.
Lastly are those who are above the age of 50 years who account for 11 percent of the total number.
The land issue has always been a topical issue in the country, with the citizens decrying that government takes forever to allocate them plots while there is huge chunk of unoccupied land across the country.
Indeed, some say they have applied for residential plots as back as 1991 with no hope of ever getting one.
Should they ever get one, they argue that they would have means to develop such plots as they would have reached their retirement age.
“I have been applying across the country since 1991 with the hope of at least landing plot in one town, but even today there is nothing to show,” said one citizen who said he is now approaching 60 years.
This is the reality that was confirmed by Khumotaka who indicated that the longest period one had to wait to get a plot is 30 years.
This record waiting period was in state land, Gaborone to be precise, while the shortest waiting period so far is four years which is Francistown.
According to the Acting PS, the average waiting period for state land is 16 years.
The waiting period record for tribal land is slightly lower than that of state land, currently standing at 27 years and this happened under the Mogoditshane Sub Land Board whereas the shortest waiting period under tribal land is one day which was under the Hukuntsi Sub Land Board.
“The main challenge which contributes to the long waiting period and a huge waiting list is the cost of servicing land and acquiring land from landowners,” revealed Khumotaka.
Khumotaka said it costs government P150, 000 to fully service one residential plot and if the government was to service plots for all the 620, 661 on the waiting list, it would require P94 billion, almost double of the government annual budget.