Councillors Decry Community Trusts’ Maladministration!


  • misuse of funds common among trusts
  • chaotic state of affairs irks councillors
  • they want DC, TAC to reign in on poor governance
  • DC believes CBNRM bill will deal with problematic trusts
  • Loopholes in policy perpetuate corrupt practices

North West District Councillors have pleaded with District Commissioner Thabang Waloka in his capacity as the Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to organise a stakeholder dialogue that would involve community trusts, political leadership as ex-officio to address some perpetual irregularities within the different community based organisations in the district.

This call was made after some councillors raised concern over the chaotic state of affairs that include maladministration, mismanagement of funds, unending court battles among others, which hinder delivery on the core mandates  of the trusts to beneficiaries.

Speaking during the just ended full council sitting, Boro/Senonnori area councillor Kenson Kgaga raised concern over the various issues of concern which hinder community development, indicating that there is need for TAC to step in and assist before they all go bankrupt.

He indicated that the main objective for trust was to ensure that trusts meet the government half way in servicing their community beneficiaries through funds generated from the use natural resources allocated to them, however Kgaga noted that that has not been the case as funds are diverted to court cases and for personal use.

“An instance is the Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKMCT) which services Boro. Children from that area have for so many years been struggling to access education without receiving any help from the trust, even though OKMCT made millions annually,” Kgaga said.

Kgaga noted that at the heart of all court cases bedevilling  trusts, are some individuals from beneficiary villages who connive with some unscrupulous potential investors who then fund them to oust trust boards in order for them to be appointed investors.

He emphasised that revenue generated by trusts through the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) initiative should be regarded as public funds as they are sourced from the country’s natural resources. He noted that the government has for the longest time allowed public funds to be misused at the hands of trusts without any action.

Kgaga noted that ungazzetted areas such as Xaxaba should be receiving services from their beneficiary trusts since the government has failed to find ways of servicing them. He lamented that TAC has for the longest time failed to make a recommendation to the CBNRM coordinator to assist in the chaotic events going on across trusts.

Bojanala area councillor Luke Motlaleselelo indicated that in his jurisdiction area, which is a beneficiary of OKMCT, the TAC has exhausted all the means to assist with the misunderstandings, but failed. He lamented the delay by the TAC to stamp its authority, something that led to the current state of affairs in some trusts.

“I think TAC fears stamping its authority, I am not sure if the Attorney General is the one failing them but dragging issues for this long without seeking legal advice by TAC,” Motlaleselelo said.

Motlaleselelo further noted that from his observation, there is also politics at play across these trusts, citing instances where the area councillor can be excluded from scheduled meetings where they sit as ex-officio members. 

Meanwhile District Commissioner Thabang Waloka has noted that the CBNRM Bill that will be coming into effect seeks to address the myriad of challenges that have bedevilled community trusts.

According to Waloka, issues of poor governance across trusts are mainly caused by the board of trustees which end up disadvantaging beneficiary communities. Waloka noted that board of trustees should be driving the interest of the trust not their own like it is the case in some trusts.

He emphasised that because of limitations of the law with regard to CBNRM, there have been loopholes which led to court cases between board of trustees and beneficiaries.

“Trusts are taking us as TAC to court, some cases we lose and some we win. Those we lose are due to the fact that there are loopholes with the law with regard to the authority of TAC,” Waloka said.

Waloka highlighted that they have resorted to training communities on the operations of trusts, to be better placed to demand accountability from their boards.

“Training communities is necessary because we have discovered that some boards trick beneficiaries especially, elders because they do not understand the operations of the trust,” Waloka said.     

Waloka noted that he has since requested for funds from the CBNRM coordinator to have a dialogue on the matter with all community trusts and stakeholders across the district since they have similar problems.

Meanwhile, the much awaited implementation of the CBNRM Bill is expected to be a game changer in the affairs of community trusts.


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