important food plant species
09 February, 2005
LOBATSE - The High Court here was yesterday presented with a list of
what the expert witness, Arthur Albertson, described as important food
plant species for CKGR residents.
Albertson is an ecologist
giving evidence for the 242 Basarwa/Bakglagadi who have taken government
to court on the 2002-relocation exercise and the termination of social
During cross examination by
lead counsel for the state, Sidney Pilane, he said he generated the list
of 21 good plant species from memory because he no longer had a complete
record of all the plants he studied during his research in the CKGR.
He said he presented the
First People of Kgalagadi (FPK) with the original list, as they were the
ones who commissioned him to undertake the study. The data included two
reports of 2001 and a large-scale map of the CKGR.
Alberston said in doing so,
it was not necessary to show FPK all his observations and that he did
not give them data relating to all different plant species.
He said FPK were more
interested in general information on load use patterns. He told the
court that he knew all those plant species by their scientific names.
However, he was able to
identify some of those on the list as moretlwa, mokate, motlopi and
mogorogorwana. He could not remember any in the Sesarwa name.
Most of all the plants he
said were common at all CKGR settlements but were in significant
quantities of Metsiamanong. The study was confined to, among other areas,
Molapo, Mothomelo, Gope, Kikau and was not carried out at New Xade and
He said to determine what
was the most important food plant species, he observed the frequency at
which it was collected and also answers he got from those he talked to.
However, he could not recall
the numbers of those he interviewed to determine their needs. His
interviews were also not categorised according to gender and age.
Albertson told the court
that he did not plan before hand on the size of people he was going to
interview at each settlement and could not recall how long the study
lasted except that it was a considerable amount of time.
He said he undertook six
trips to the CKGR for the study, which began in 1999 and ended in 2001.
Albertson said FPK had
conducted extensive study on the population of the CKGR. But Pilane
reminded him that according to Roy Sesana's affidavit, the FPK study was
to get people to sign a petition and not for scientific research.
He then conceded that he did
not have a reliable number of people in each of the settlement he
studied. "I can only explain that I spoke to as many people as I
could and I got the understanding of what important food plant species
are to them." Albertson had earlier been asked to comment on the
eco region map which forms part of state expert witness Dr Kathleen
He said he could not pass
judgment on that map unless he knew the source. He said he had
personally never drawn an ecoregion map but had studied the eco-system
Albertson said he had not
researched all ecotypes of Botswana but studied eco-system of northern
part of Ngamiland.
He expressed doubts about
the eco region map's accuracy with regard to the eco-system. However, he
said he had no doubt about that map's accuracy with regards to the CKGR.