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Gerald plots to be allocated without delay - Mzwinila.

Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Mr Kefentse Mzwinila says his ministry has taken a crush programme to have all the 2 515 unallocated plots at Gerald Estates in Francistown to be allocated without delay.

These include the 1 988 residential plots in the middle and high-income categories, 70 commercial plots, 329 industrial plots and 28 civic and community plots, which have remained unallocated for a long time.

Minister Mzwinila, who was addressing the Francistown Full Council meeting recently, acknowledged that the plots had been lying fully serviced over a period of time and that it was now over a decade and had caused a serious shortage of housing in the city and overcrowding in the built-up areas.

The Minister explained that his ministry had made some recommendations that the Department of Lands collaborated with SHHA to assess and allocate land through Self Help Housing Committee for SHHA awaiting list by the end of this year.

The other recommendation is that 100 serviced plots from the 1 988 unallocated plots would be allocated to the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) while 50 would be allocated to Minestone relocation and another 50 for construction of houses under the turnkey programme by end of September to alleviate housing shortage.

Mr Mzwinila further told councillors that commercial and industrial plots at Gerald Estates would be advertised this month and that the cost of the price would be considered for these plots to ease purchasing by citizens.

Another recommendation is that the Department of Lands would allocate the council land to develop staff houses through a public-private partnership and that 50 plots would be allocated for Poverty Eradication housing programme beneficiaries.

On other issues, Minister Mzwinila explained that there were many undeveloped plots in Francistown that had been allocated since 1998, but still lying with no developments.

These include 250 residential plots, 43 commercial plots, 34 industrial plots, six civic and community plots, and 99 local centres, making a total of 432 plots.

The minister also briefed councillors on the water and sewerage problem at Dumela Industrial, saying the city of Francistown was under pressure due to the inadequate sewerage reticulation network and unavailability of potable water in areas said to be outside the waterworks, though they fall within the city boundaries.

On the Gerald/Aerodrome link road, Minister Mzwinila explained that the project was seriously slow and called on stakeholders to be vigilant in delivering the project.

Initially, the commencement of the road link was supposed to have been done during this month, adding that the procurement process was currently ongoing.

There was also the issue of the special economic zone, for which the minister explained that a piece of land measuring 375 hectares as opposed to the recommended rezoned area of 699.9 hectares had been approved.

Still, on the issues of land, Minister Mzwinila warned that it would be disorderly to allocate people unserviced land and this posed a serious challenge in the lives of the people.

He said for a land to be serviced, it required designs, sanitation services, basic infrastructure such as roads and electricity and that such required large sums of money.

Earlier on in her welcome remarks, the Mayor of Francistown Ms Sylvia Muzila informed the minister that shortage of plots in the city was a big challenge and that people had lost trust in the political leadership.
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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Sep 9, 2018
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