Monday, July 4, 2022

CKGR residents fear debacle might be reignited

The Director of Public Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Nkoloi Nkoloi, has denied allegations made by Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve activist, Gakelebone Jamunda, that they have once more been threatened with eviction from CKGR.

Jumanda said that the threats were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Phandu Skelemani, whilst addressing some residents of the CKGR late last year.

Skelemani allegedly told the residents that he was surprised that some senior government officials who had visited them had been beating around the bush instead of telling them the truth that they have to move out of the park.

Jumanda said that the statement by Skelemani greatly surprised them because it came at a time when they were waiting government to come to them and discuss the way forward on how they can improve their lives in the CKGR.

“This has greatly surprised us,” said Jumanda. “We did not expect such words to come from such a high level government official and this, in our view, shows that the government is still against our staying in the CKGR despite the Court’s decision.”

Asked what they intend to do after the alleged threats, Jamunda said, “We are going to meet very soon and decide what to do and I do not rule out starting our worldwide campaigns to protest against the government.”

For his part, Nkoloi said that he did not know about the threats allegedly made by Skelemani in the CKGR.

He said what he knew is that the the government recently met with a coalition of Non-Government Organasations and agreed on how to deal with the situation in CKGR and that, during that meeting, attitudes were very good between the two parties.

Nkoloi said that the government made assurances that they will continue allowing those wishing to drill boreholes in CKGR to do so.

He confirmed that the residents of CKGR did not take part in the meeting, adding that they assumed the NGO coalition would take the news to them.

The Director of Ditshwanelo, Alice Mogwe, also denied any knowledge of Skelemani’s statement but confirmed that there is continuing consultation between them, as a member of the NGO coalition, and the government to see how best the residents of CKGR can be helped to improve their lives. This, however, is said to being impaired by lack of funds on their part which is delaying their trip to the CKGR to consult the residents.

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