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LAA boss has mountain to climb: Litšoane

Bereng Mpaki

LOCAL Government and Chieftainship Minister Litšoane Litšoane says newly appointed Land Administration Authority (LAA) director general, ‘Mataeli Makhele Sekhantšo, has a mountain to climb in addressing the challenges currently dogging the authority.

Ms Makhele Sekhantšo was recently appointed director general on a three-year contract with effect from 1 September 2019.

Until last month, Ms Makhele Sekhantšo was the principal secretary responsible for administration in cabinet. She fills the position that was vacated by Chaka Mahashe, who resigned in 2018.

Mr Litšoane, who unveiled Ms Makhele Sekhantšo last week, said she had a mountain to climb in addressing the challenges currently dogging the authority.

The LAA was established as an autonomous government body through the Land Administration Authority Act of 2010, to modernise and improve land administration services and to reduce land transaction costs and the time it takes to acquire or dispose of a leasehold title to land.

Mr Litšoane said some of the challenges that LAA is grappling is land misuse.

“There are challenges that you should expect in this position, because I am concerned that we are not administering our land properly.

“Some of these challenges include land acquisition for a certain purpose only to be used for a different purpose altogether. If we do not handle this important asset well, we will regret it.

“Some of us will cry when we look back at the manner in which we have managed our land. If you can consider how well other countries are managing their land and compare it to our situation in Lesotho, you will want to cry.”

Mr Litsoane’s words about proper land use were echoed by the deputy chairperson of LAA board Molefi Leqhaoe.

He also acknowledged the challenges within the authority, which the new director general will encounter.

“Agriculture is one of the priority sectors identified by the government for driving economic growth. Therefore it is important to ensure that land earmarked for agricultural purposes is left strictly for that and land for other purposes such as manufacturing is left for that. And this can be made possible through the administration of the LAA.

“What you are coming up against at the helm of LAA will not be easy, but the board is there to lend its support in the process of ensuring that land is administered correctly,” Mr Leqhaoe said.

Mr Leqhaoe, who is also the managing director of the Lesotho PostBank, said proper land administration was critical for promoting access to finance.

“We are looking forward to proper administration of the country’s land because that is a requirement for improving access to finance.”

For her part, Ms Makhele Sekhantšo, said she was ready to get down to work and should be judged by her performance. She said she was confident in her abilities and was prepared to be appraised on the set goals after three months in office.

The principal secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Khothatso Tšooana, said Ms Makhele Sekhantšo was head hunted for position after two job advertisements failed to find the required candidate in line with section 18 of the Land Administration Authority Act.

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