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Tati Concessions Land

The Tati Concessions Land was a concession created in the borderlands of the Matabele kingdom and the Bechuanaland Protectorate. The concession was originally made by the Matabele King to Sir John Swinburne. It was administered from the Bechuanaland Protectorate after 1893, but after 1911 was formally annexed to it, finally becoming a statutory creature by its first piece of legislation, the Proclamation Number 2 of 1911 by the High Commissioner of Bechuanaland. It was locally administered by a Justice of the Peace.

The chief town of this region is Francistown, now one of Botswana's major settlements.

The latest act governing and regulating this Concession is that of the TATI CONCESSIONS LAND ACT 1970 (Cap 32:05). The most controversial provision in this act can be found in Section 6 of the above-mentioned, which states that "The right to all minerals and precious stones under the land in the Tati District is reserved to the Tati Concessions, Limited, and also the right of prospecting for and working the same." The effect of this section is that mineral rights are bestowed unto this body, which is contrary to the Botswana Government's desire for all mineral rights in the country to devolve in her (as can be seen from Section 3 of the Mines and Minerals Act of 1999 [Cap 66:0])which is to the effect that all minerals within Botswana, with the exception of Tati Concessions, are the property of the Republic of Botswana).


  • 1864: Gold is discovered in Tati River area, then part of the Matabele kingdom.
  • 1872: Concession granted to Sir John Swinburne (b. 1831 - d. 1914), he later acquires most other concessions.
  • 1893: Tati Land detached from Matabeleland and placed under the jurisdiction of the British Resident Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Protectorate.
  • January 21, 1911: Annexed to Bechuanaland (now Botswana) via the Tati Concessions Land Act, with a special agreement to preserve rights of access for Rhodesian Railways (now the National Railways of Zimbabwe).

The Tati Concessions, Limited was formed by Swinburne and given the right by the British Government to issue its own Revenue Stamps in 1896 for use on legal instruments.

Sources and references