- Budget aimed at improving livelihoods of BaSarwa
- Move follows kiss-and-make up between govt and BaSarwa
The government will spend a whopping P70 million to restore livelihoods in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) through improved water supply, The Botswana Gazette has established.
The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of BaSarwa of CKGR in 2011, declaring that they were entitled to have access to water inside the reserve after the government had insisted that it was under no obligation to supply them with water. There recent development follows a kiss-and-make up effort by the government and the BaSarwa communities following a famous legal tussle that is thus far the longest and most expensive in Botswana’s legal annals.
Over the last two weeks, the government dispatched a four-strong cabinet team comprising the Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Kefentse Mzwinila, the Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Philda Kereng, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Eric Molale and the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Edwin Dikoloti to address meetings at the BaSarwa settlements.
According Minister Mzwinila, the meetings resolved that two boreholes be drilled at Gugamma, two at Metsiamanong, one at Molapo and one at Mothomelo. “The estimated cost for all the boreholes was P16 million while over P55 million would go towards construction of a water treatment plant and a water reticulation system,” he said.
Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will assume total authority over water services at those settlements upon completion of the project, the minister added.
In addition to bringing much-needed potable water to the communities, the project is expected to lead to improved eco-tourism to the desert area. The communities are also due to benefit from a ranch in Ghanzi that the government undertook to reserve for them.