Question and Answer
- Why did Government adopt a policy to relocate CKGR residents?
Over time it has become clear that many residents of the CKGR already were or wished to become settled agriculturists, raising crops and tneding livestock as opposed to hunting-gathering when the reserve was established in 1961.
In fact, hunting-gathering had become obsolete to sustain their living conditions. These agricultural land uses are not compatible with preserving wildlife resources and not sustainable to be practised in the Game Reserve.
This is the fundamental reason for government to relocate the CKGR residents.
- Why are CKGR residents forced to relocate from their ancestral land?
Government's policy has at all times been based upon the consent of those concerned, at no time has government comtemplated the use of force.
Government's policy has been solely motivated by a concern to reconcile conflicting land use claims in the CKGR. Since the eighties government was involved in negotiating with CKGR residents to resolve the CKGR land use conflict.
In 1985 government appointed a Fact Finding Mission to investigate the situation of the CKGR. The Mission found that some locations in the CKGR were rapidly evolving into settled agricultural communities and that there was increasing land use conflict. Following this, a 1986 Government White Paper stated its position as:
Since then government has been in continuous consultations with the CKGR residents. A 1993 Working Group reiterated Government's commitment to the 1986 Policy. In 1996/97 some residents of the CKGR started relocating. Residents indicated their willingness to relocate by registering to district officials, who then organised assessments of their properties for compensations and transportation.
- That the boundaries and status of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve should be maintained.
- That the social and economic development of Xade and other settlements in the Reserve should be frozen because they have no prospect of becoming viable.
- That the Ministry of Local Government and Lands should advise Government on the incentives required to encourage residents in the reserve to relocate.
- Have all people relocated from CKGR?
The majority of people have relocated to New Xade, Kaudwane and Xere in Gantsi, Kweneng and Central Districts respectively. As of now only 17 people still remain in the CKGR. This is testimony that no force has been used, othewise no one would still be in the reserve.
- What services have been provided at the new settlements?
Basic services such as potable waer, health post, and schoo have been provided at all settlements except Xere. Xere has recently been established and construction of a school is ongoing and health facilities are tendered. The settlements have services comparable to other villages/settlements of their status.
- Is it true that CKGR residents are relocated to give way for diamond mines?
There has been general mining exploration in the country including CKGR. Falconbridge Exploration Company discovered Kimberlite Pipe in Gope following an aero-magnetic survey. The feasibility and environmental impact study concluded that developing a mine at Gope would not be viable.
In any case there has never been any relationship between Gope Mine Exploration and the relocation of CKGR residents.
- Is Government prepared to consult with representatives of Basarwa about the relocation?
Government is prepared to discuss with any legitimately established organisation on any issues which relate to Batswana irrespective of ethnicity. We have in the past held discussions with groups that purport to represent Basarwa such as First People of Kgalagadi and the Negotiating team. The last such meeting with the negotiating team was on the 13 December 2001. Our doors remain open for any fruitful discussions.
- Is Government aware that it violates Basarwa Human Rights and extinct their culture by relocating them from their ancestral land?
Basarwa are part of Botswana society and they enjoy equal rights enjoyed by the rest of Batswana as enshrined by the constitution. These includes the rights to education, better health, development, etc. which they could not easily access while in the reserve.
Culture is not static, all of us have a culture and a past. We must treasure these cultural values that help us live prosperously and discard those that retards progress.
Basarwa will continue to have their culture even when they are outside the reserve. In fact, very few Basarwa lived in the CKGR, the majority of them live in various places throughout the country. Among the estimated population of 50,000 Basarwa, in Botswana, only about 1,000 lived in the CKGR by 1991.
- Why did Government terminate services in the CKGR such as provision of water, health, etc.?
When the majority of people had relocated and basic social services had been provided at the new settlements, it became clear that provision of services to the CKGR was unsustainable. Gantsi District Council was parting with a minimum of P50,000 per month to provide the services to the CKGR.
This was not in line with the long-term sustainable development of our communities, efficient and sustainable service delivery, poverty alleviation and conservation of resuorces.