MCC in land theft scandal
Different community members from Ha-Thetsane claim that the Maseru City Council (MCC) is corrupt and needs to be changed after claims that their land was taken from them without any compensation or explanation.
This, the community said after some of them took to the Senate Chambers this week to air out their grievances about MCC officials as one of the many ways of seeking intervention from the authorities.
The communities of Ha-Thetsane complain that some of the MCC officials are stealing and enriching themselves through some of Basotho owned lands and sending them on a seesaw game when owners question the allocations.
The Senate decided that a letter to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs through the Minister should be written to the officials to set a date to answer to the accusations.
The community members said there was a particular MCC official, who 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.
“They have connections everywhere including the police force. They have their people even in court hence things are done in their favour,” said one Peete Majara who resides at Maseru South.
He told this paper that in 2012, there was a letter from the MCC entailing that the land belonged to the Pula Maliboho project which in the past years had bought land from some of the community members in Maseru South.
“That letter instructed LAA to not renew the form C’s which people had and those that owned land through agreements should also not be given their land’s lease,” Majara said.
He said later MCC sent another official to mark sites without leases saying those sites are the ones the officials are taking and enriching themselves from.
“Someone from MCC was sent to count all plots without leases and those with leases and we later learned that the move was so that she sells those without leases and register the sites under names of people who don’t exist.
“The corruption at MCC is so high that we feel everyone there should be removed. The land-allocation task should be returned to the chief as was done in the past and he should work with a committee to avoid such things happening. MCC is so corrupt that even police officers are involved in the corruption,” Majara said.
He said they came together as the communities from Maseru South, Khubelu, Ha-Tsolo and Ha-Thetsane, Ha-Ts’iame and Ha-Leqele to seek intervention for their embezzled land.
Another community member, Motlatsi Mphulenyane said the issue of land comes as far back as 2002 to 2003 before the formation of the Community Councils.
He said at the time the land was still the responsibility of the chief who allocated land to the community members as per agreements which were done at the time.
“A committee which was to be responsible for the allocation of land was formed following the agreement between the chiefs and the community. Later after the formation of the committee, community councils were introduced and the committee approached the council to ask that the allocated land should be given leases,” Mphulenyane said.
“The Community contributed M290 to pay for fees which MCC needed for the leases but not everyone got their leases.”
He said when those lease came, there were commotions as some people did not get them while some pieces of land were given wrong leases.
“Among those leases, some came while some documents disappeared in offices resulting into people not getting their lease,” he said.
Mphulenyane said they later learned that officials were the reason behind the commotions as they were the ones enriching themselves with those lands without the knowledge of the Ministry.
“This is why we have decided to ask for interventions from the courts, senate, cabinet and everywhere else were we thought we would get help” he said.
Contacted for contact MCC said they were not aware of the issue but will follow it up.