Local entrepreneur, Ineeleng Kavindama has finally won a long, tedious court battle over a disputed piece of land that she applied for within the Okavango Delta.

On Tuesday last week, the Land Tribunal ruled in her favour in a case in which she had dragged the Maun Land Board to the Land Tribunal for contempt of court.

In November 2003, Kavindama, who is the daughter of the late firebrand politician Joseph Kavindama applied for a piece of land for a lodge site at Mbiroba Island.

However, in 2008 her application was rejected citing the RAMSAR site, and that allocations have since been suspended. At the said board sitting, the Vice Chairman of the Tawana Land Board at the time informed Kavindama that allocations has been suspended in all areas within RAMSAR

site in the Tawana Territory, which is an internationally protected site as per the RAMSAR Convention. RAMSAR sites stretch from Mohembo to Maun, and include the Panhandle.

On August 27th, 2021, Kavindama hauled the Land Board before court for contempt of court following Land Board sitting of August 12th , 2021 where it was resolved that she would be allocated a camp site in a designated area as her proposed area was not designated as a campsite as per the NG12 Management Plan.

“The coordinate of the camp site to be allocated will be communicated to the applicant within a period of one month,” the ruling said.

Not ready to throw in the towel, Kavindama returned to court in 2018, where it was ruled that the matter must be remitted back to the Land Board for reconsideration within four months from December 17th 2018. This too proved to be impossible on the part of the Land Board.

At the time, it was also ruled that the Land Board should grant Kavindama sufficient time and opportunity to be heard before making a decision on her application.

“The respondent must take into account any special circumstances that the Appellant may advance that may warrant that the application be considered as a special case,” read the ruling.

In an interview with this publication, Kavindama was ecstatic with the new development, noting that this was a win for the people of the Okavango Delta. Coming from the Hambukushu tribe of the Okavango Delta, she said that this victory will give her people and others from marginalised tribes hope.

“What has been happening is that our children can only work within the delta as tour guides instead of owning land,” she said, adding that the ruling will give them hope that they too are capable of owning land. She also said her people have in the majority of cases been watching as other people easily get pieces of land.

She regrets that it had to take this long for a native of the Okavango, and as children of the Okavango delta it should not have come to this for one of them to get a piece of land.

She said that following the court ruling, she was now waiting to see if the Land Board will fullfil its obligation within the stipulated 30 days.