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Maseru

Hope shattered for communities fighting for sites

Business

Nthatuoa Koeshe

The high hopes with which the residents of different communities around the Thetsane region in Maseru who were complaining about officers of the Maseru City Council (MCC) stealing their land have come tumbling down, as they pinned their hope on intervention to be provided by Parliament under the auspices of Senate, to help them get their leases.

This is after the residents had presented their grievances before Senate asking to be assisted with getting leases from the Land Administration Authority (LAA) for their sites which they claim were being usurped by some of the MCC officials who have a chain of connections to embezzle sites and re-register them as their own.

Unfortunately, the proceedings to assist these community members fell-off as parliament was dissolved before carrying out any intervention as would have been expected.

A few weeks ago, different community members from Ha-Thetsane who claimed that their land was taken from them without any compensation or explanation, took to the Senate Chambers to air their grievances about MCC officials as one of the many ways of seeking intervention from the authorities.

The communities complained that some of the MCC officials are stealing and enriching themselves through some of the plots owned by Basotho and sending them from pillar to post as they attempt to enquire about them.

Senate then decided that a letter to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs through the minister should be written to summon them on the accusations.

Among many complaints the community members had about the MCC officials, were that one specific MCC official uses her power and position in the MCC to harass land owners and threaten them when they claim their land.

They said they felt MCC is corrupt to the core and needs to be changed as the corruption from the institution is disheartening and threatening as well saying they even learned that seeking intervention from other authorities has become fruitless as these officials are well connected and seemingly above the law.

One Peete Majara from Maseru South in Qoaling in the vicinity of Ha-Thetsane, told this paper in a recent interview that his site was part of the embezzled sites for which the owners pinned their hope to the Senate after it had ordered LAA to help them get leases for their sites.

He said they explained everything to Senate and also provided them with documents and exhibit which proves that indeed they have ownership over the sites in question even though those sites appear under some of the MCC officials’ names.

“We are currently being helped by the office of the Senate to get LAA to help us get leases to our sites. The Senate has ordered the LAA to assist us with the leases to our sites and we have furnished them with documentations and clips of our conversations with the police who had called us asking that we bring documents to our sites which were never given back,” Majara said.

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