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Unconstitutional deprivation of land: Ba-Ga-Malete Tribe contest constitutionality of Section 7 of the Tribal Territories Amendment Act No. 3 of 1973

SALC is assisting the Ba-Ga-Malete Tribe, represented by Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and the Gamalete Development Trust, against the Malete Land Board and the Attorney General to retain the land known as Forest Hill 9-KO that the Tribe bought with their resources in 1925  for grazing purposes (Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and Another v Attorney General) . The Tribe is challenging the inclusion of Forest Hill 9-KO in the Bamalete Tribal Territory. The Tribe’s Application seeks recognition of the Tribe’s ownership over their land and challenges the constitutionality of the legislative scheme relating to tribal land.

On 22 March 2021, the High Court of Botswana heard the Malete Land Board application seeking a court order cancelling the Deed of Transfer in favour of the Gamalete Development Trust in respect of Forest Hill. On the same day, the Court also heard a Mosadi Seboko’s counter-application opposing the Land Board’s Application.

The High Court in its judgment on 21  May 2021 ruled in favour of the Tribe. The Malete Land Board has since filed an appeal which will be heard on Tuesday, 24 January 2023.

On 7 March 2023, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Bamalete Tribe were rightful owners of Forest Hill Farm and that the land registration scheme that allowed for the compulsory acquisition of the Tribe’s Farm violated the right to property. The Court confirmed that section 7 of the Tribal Territories Amendment Act No. 3 of 1973 amounted to an unconstitutional deprivation of property and should be struck off or declared invalid.

Motlhala Ketshabile & Company, Botlhole Law Group, Rantao Attorneys, Adv Geoff Budlender SC, and Adv Mitchell de Beer represent the Tribe.


21 May 2021- High Court judgment 

07 March 2023- Court of Appeal judgment 


News Releases

17 March 2023-The Southern Africa Litigation Centre condemns the government of Botswana’s victimisation of Kgosi Mosadi Seboko

7 March 2023 – Botswana Court of Appeal declares the Bamalete Tribe as rightful owners of Forest Hill Farm
6 March 2023 – Botswana Court of Appeal to deliver judgment on rightful ownership of Forest Hill farm
20 January 2023 – Botswana Court of Appeal to hear critical land case.
6 October 2022 – Court of Appeal to decide on the rightful owners of Forest Hill farm.
21 May 2021 – Botswana High Court finds compulsory acquisition of a tribe’s freehold land unlawful
19 March 2021 – Botswana High Court to determine whether law allows the compulsory acquisition of a tribe’s freehold land

Case in the News
7 March 2023 – Balete have won against the government (The Midweek Sun)
7 March 2023 – #PowerToEngageYourWorld (Gabz-FM)
6 March 2023 – Curtain closes on Bamalete land saga (Mmegi online)
27 January 2023 – Bamalete: Defending land to the death (Mmegi)
23 January 2023 – Bamalete land case returns to court (Guardian Sun)
21 January 2023 – Ownership of Botswana’s Forest Hill farm to be back in court on Tuesday (NewzRoom Africa)
24 May 2021 – Sweet victory for Balete

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