NEWS 2005


Witness presents important food plant species

09 February, 2005
Daily News

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 services.

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 Kaudwane.

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 Alexander's evidence.

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 of Botswana.

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. BOPA