Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKMCT) is said to have spent over half a million Pula in their eight year old legal battle against some Ditshiping residents who had filed a court case seeking to exit the trust.
In 2015 OKMCT was dragged to court by 56 concerned parties from Ditshiping settlement through Honey Guide Adventure Trust seeking permission for the village to break away from OKMCT. Their request was subsequently granted in September 2021 by Lobatse High Court Judge Tebogo Tau.
Following the order OKMCT subsequently ceased provision of services to the residents however another court case was filled by the concerned parties arguing that the trust was in contempt of court order which emphasised that an audit was supposed to be done for the two parties to share assets.
This huge spend of community funds was revealed by the OKMCT general manager, Seikaneng Moepedi at a media briefing this week, where he lamented that the legal battle has left the trust financially battered. He revealed that their yet to be published financial report shows that the court cases have cost them heavily.
Moepedi noted that some projects meant to develop the trust’s beneficiaries have since been affected by the financial state of the trust, as funds had to be redirected to the battle.
“We are in the process of building a mini shopping complex opposite our offices, the money used in this legal battle was supposed to contribute to the construction of the complex which will in return create employment for its beneficiary residents,” Moepedi highlighted.
Meanwhile the general manager has revealed that an audit conducted by the concerned parties through their private auditor has since been completed adding that the duo are currently awaiting to meet in order to map a way forward.
“We are currently waiting for the other party to assess the audit and get back to us to map a way forward,” Moepedi said.
Despite the financial constraints brought by the legal battle, Moepedi has revealed that OKMCT will host the Silver Jubilee celebration to commemorate its 25 years of existence and achievements on the 30th of June 2023 in Boro settlement.
He highlighted that for the 25 years of existence they were able to install safe drinking water stand pipes for all their six beneficiary settlements namely Boro, Xharaxao, Xuoxao, Daunara and Xaxaba as well as their former member Ditshiping.
Moepedi added that through their joint venture partners they have managed to secure job opportunities for their beneficiary locals as well as generate income for them through the mokoro stations.
He noted that though the trust has had success stories over the years, it also missed out on business opportunity due to leadership that lacked capacity in the business sphere.
“Back then everything was simple to acquire, we have had a vacant plot for many years but the then leaders failed to come up with a plan for income generation,” Moepedi said.
He indicated that the hunting ban, COVID 19 and the land bank issue has also brought financial challenges to their operations.