Land Use Applications In NG32 Suspended!

Date:

  • This follows an influx of land use transfer applications in the area
  • Allocations of ploughing fields in NG32 against wildlife policy
  • The year-long suspension seeks to rectify the situation

The North West District Council’s Physical Planning Committee has decided to halt land use applications in the Ngamiland Controlled Area 32 (NG32) following an influx of land use transfer applications in the area.

Following government’s decision to relax provisions and allow Batswana to change the use of the land they hold title on, there has been an influx of interest in agro-tourism investments and other commercial undertakings within the Okavango Delta.

In an interview, NWDC Physical Planning Committee Principal Physical Planer I Lesang Setimela has confirmed that the moratorium on applications for agro tourism, change of land use from ploughing fields to tourism-related activities will be temporarily stopped for a period of 1year effecting from the 24th June 2024 to 23rd June 2025.

According to him, temporarily stopping such applications will give the physical planning committee time and opportunity to plan for accommodating and managing the development in the protected area.

He revealed that there are a lot of ploughing fields’ allocations that currently exist in NG32 though the wildlife policy does not permit such to be situated within wildlife management areas.

Setimela explained that the recommendations that were made in the current management plan were not followed by the latter in terms of allocations of ploughing fields and the available development. He said this is why the committee decided to pause and look into where they have gone wrong and come up with mitigations and measures going forward as well as how they can resolve the land unrests in the area.

“Stakeholder engagements of interested and affected parties as part of the process of finding mitigations will be done,” Setimela indicated.

Asked whether stakeholders were engaged before deciding on the moratorium, Setimela noted that the Moratorium Act allows the committee to pause land use activities for a certain period for consultations and finding mitigation factors for whatever situation may be prevailing.

Setimela was however unable to share how many ploughing fields existed in NG32 citing that they are yet to establish that as well as how many of those have already been developed. “At this stage, we cannot talk about how many fields or which fields have been affected, we will be prejudicing the owners of the fields without proper consent and consultation,” he clarified.

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