NEWS 2005

 

Settlements Could Serve CKGR Dissenters - Witness

Thato Chwaane

The assistant director of national parks, Jan Broekhuis said that people who remained in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) were at liberty to get services in the relocation settlements of Kaudwane and New Xade.

Under re-examination by lead state counsel, Sidney Pilane on Tuesday, he said it was emotional to claim that the sick, the old and other disadvantaged people remaining in the CKGR were denied services.

This was because there were services outside the reserve. Broekhuis said that residents could go to areas where there are services.

He was reacting to claims in a letter by a certain Amogelang Segootsane who sought and got permission to transport water into the CKGR after the relocation. Broekhuis said he replied to Segootsane's letter though it was not directed to him after he got instructions from his boss, the director of national parks. The letter was directed to the director and Broekhuis responded after discussions in the department.

He said Segootsane was apparently representing a group of people and had requested that he be allowed to enter with a large amount of water in the CKGR for daily use.

In his request, Segootsna said the water would be taken to Gope, Gugamma and Metsiamanong in different vehicles and that it was disheartening to see expectant mothers, sick persons and orphans without water. Broekhuis termed this an emotive statement because services were available outside the reserve.

He said that there are no regulations against taking water into the reserve, though vehicles were required to have permits to get in. He said delivery of bulk water was not a normal and daily activity.

He said he had never heard that tourists wanted to take large amounts of water into the reserve. He said they have never issued permits for water besides that of Segootsane. Broekhuis said that people of New Xade and Kaudwane continued to receive special game licences and were permitted to gather veldt products in the wildlife management areas. Pilane stated that their case is that there is still hunting and gathering outside the reserve.

He asserted that even though there has been a transition, the relocated residents still had access to all resources outside the reserve and were not completely cut off.

Broekhuis said that the second management plan proposed Community Use Zones (CUZs) constituting five percent of reserve. However, the third management plan increased the CUZs to 45 percent after consultations with people.

The draft final plan omitted the CUZs inside the reserve and cut the percentage to 21. Broekhuis said this was because there were only 17 people left in the reserve when writing the draft and there was no use in maintaining CUZs in the CKGR.

He said the draft final management plan did not say anything about the CKGR residents, as they were only a few remaining behind.

When Justice Mpaphi Pumaphi asked whether the draft final plan ignored the residents, Broekhuis responded; "I will leave that to your interpretation, my Lord." The case in which the Basarwa have challenged their relocation from the CKGR continues today.