- BaSarwa say gov’t still wants them out of CKGR
- We are not going anywhere – Roy Sesana
BaSarwa say the government is using dirty tricks to force them out of the Central Khalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
Led by prominent activist Roy Sesana, they are preparing to mount another battle in the courts to assert their rights to live in the CKGR because it is their ancestral land.
A delegation of BaSarwa living in there recently met with then local government minister Eric Molale to discuss a number of issues affecting their livelihoods. Top of their concerns was the reluctance of the government to provide them with basic needs such as medical care, water, food and education.
BaSarwa won the right to return to the CKGR in court in 2006 but the government has done everything it can to make living there difficult by sealing their only borehole with cement, among other things.
“We have on a number of occasions asked the Gantsi District Council to explain why they are not providing us with these basic needs in spite of our landmark court victory in 2006,” Sesana said in an interview.
“The council keeps telling us that they get orders from the central government. When we met with Minister Molale, we also asked him to provide us with answers.”
According to Sesana, Molale claimed that the government, including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, was not aware that BaSarwa were being denied basic needs.
“He promised to get back to us with answers soon but we have been made aware that he has been moved to another ministry,” he said. “Every time we think we are making progress with the government, the minister is changed.
“We have in the past engaged the Attorney General through our lawyers but there has not been any difference. Nevertheless, we want to assure government that we are not going anywhere because this is our land. We have engaged our lawyers to assist in the matter.”
Both Minister Molale and the newly appointed Minister of Local Government, Kgotla Autlwetse, did not answer their phones on Tuesday afternoon. Molale was made Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development in a recent cabinet reshuffle.
Meanwhile, the government previously set aside P70 million to relocate BaSarwa from the CKGR to other areas in the Gantsi region because it wants to secure the CKGR for tourism. Blue chip tourism stable Wilderness Safaris owns large tracts of concessions in the area.