Ditshiping Polers Also Suffers Big


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…as OKMCT, Ditshiping villagers’ feud continues

Just when they were about to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ditshiping mokoro station operators still find themselves economically disadvantaged without any source of income as a result of their decision to exit from Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKMC). The trust has since suspended activities at the mokoro station as the village is no longer a member of the trust.

The conflict between the trust and the villagers began eight years ago after a group of 52 concerned residents of Ditshiping launched a court case seeking permission for the village to break away from OKMCT. Their request was subsequently granted in September 2021 by Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Tebogo Tau.

In December last year, OKMCT released a letter dated 16 December 2022 giving an instruction to its joint venture partners to immediately fire Ditshiping residents who were employed by virtue of being Ditshiping residents in camps where the trust is involved.

It further stated that as Ditshiping was no longer a member of OKMCT it could continue to benefit from the trust and has therefore with immediate effect suspended operation of the Ditshiping Mokoro station which is within the OKMCT’s concession.   

In an interview, area councillor for Bojanala Ward Luke Motlaleselelo confirmed that activities at the mokoro polling station which are the only source of direct income generation for the polers has been suspended since December last year.

He noted that as the area councillor he has not received any complaints about the suspension but he however observed that this was because the residents are aware that it comes with the decision they have made.

As for Ditshiping residents employed by the trust’s joint ventures, Motlaleselelo revealed that no one has been fired so far between December 16th to date, he explained that the trust was only a facilitator for the employment process hence it cannot decide for employers on who to fire.

He indicated that those employed at camps have nothing to do with the court order as they are employed through the employment act adding that they were employed way before the court order was made.

The two parties are set to appear for status update before Court Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Tebogo Tau on the 27th February 2023.

Meanwhile Motlaleselelo has rubbished reports that he is the mastermind behind the split. “I want to make it clear that I have nothing to do with this, it is a decision by Ditshiping residents to exit the trust,” he stressed.


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