The Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has announced that his ministry intends to review the hunting regulations to allow some tribes, particularly Basarwa, to hunt animals for consumption and not for commercial purposes.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Khama said ”We are looking at how we can regulate and monitor how Basarwa and some Batswana in general can be allowed to kill for the pot in certain areas because the number of animal we feared were under threat have increased.”
He added that “I strongly believe that we should revisit our strategies and put in place some stringent measures when allowing some members of the community in certain areas to kill for the pot. We want to curb a situation where people exploit Basarwa and use them to kill animals for commercial gain while hiding behind their backs.”
The minister said that they are in consultation with other stakeholders particularly the security personnel on how to relax the hunting restrictions for the Basarwa community.
TK also said they have so far relaxed restrictions on people entering Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) saying people are no longer required to produce permits when entering the reserve.
”Family members and relatives who were staying outside the CKGR are just allowed to register by the gate and not to apply for a monthly permit as it was initially stipulated in the regulations,” said Khama.
He said people are only requested to register their names at the gate for security reasons.
With regards to the Shoot to kill Policy, the minister said the policy applies to poachers who carry automatic weapons with a mission to shoot at law enforcement officers.
Khama said the recent Basarwa who were arrested cannot be described as poachers.
For his part Basarwa Spokesperson, Jumanda Gakelebone said government should help Basarwa because most of them are poor and do not have any sustainable jobs.
Jumanda said the resolution by Venson Moitoi’s task team that Basarwa be assisted with food hampers is not being honoured and appealed to the relevant authorities to at least speed up the review policy to allow them to kill for the pot freely and not to be subjected to torture like what recently happened. He called on Khama to visit Basarwa so as to get their opinion because law enforcement authorities are always threatening them. He added that it is the first time to learn that some restrictions on hunting ban have been relaxed for Basarwa and other communities.
“If the restrictions have been relaxed why where the nine Basarwa who were recently arrested charged with illegal entering in the reserve?” asked Gakelebone.
Gakelebone appealed to Khama to visit them to clarify certain issues which have not reached the Basarwa community.