An increased number of Basarwa who were forcefully removed from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) are moving back to the game reserve, despite government objections.┬á
Speaking during the on-going 9th meeting of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Itsoseng Gaoonwe of Letlhakeng region said that there are 16 residents who are periodically moving from Kaudwane settlement in Letlhakeng Sub District and are likely to join six other residents who have permanently relocated to Mothomelo in the CKGR.
He said the permanent relocation and periodic movement of the residents have increased due to the reopening of the borehole at Mothomelo in the CKGR.
“Since the reopening of the borehole the residents are relocating and others only go to Kaudwane for their monthly pensions and rations,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Maxwell Motowane, indicated that government is aware of the relocation. “The reason for the migration is not known. However, I am informed that the frequency has increased following the reopening of the borehole at Mothomelo,” said Motowane. “I am not able to state whether this movement is attributable to the influence of Survival International.”
Meanwhile, Motowane stated in an interview that the relocation of the residents is a concern to his ministry, since government invested money in providing them with infrastructure and government programmes at Kaudwane. He said government cannot deploy the services to CKGR.
“The villagers are expected to use the services where they are provided,” he said.
Government closed the borehole in 2002, and it was later re-drilled by Gem Diamonds, after a court ruling that Basarwa have the fundamental right to water.