The Assistant Director of Research and Information in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Monei Rapuleng, has denied claims by Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve activist, Jamunda Gakelebone, that CKGR residents had not taken part in the census exercise because the government had abandoned them.
Speaking in an interview with the Telegraph, Rapuleng said that the government was still looking at ways of helping the CKGR residents as it is her mandate to do to all Batswana.
Asked what exactly they are doing in this regard, he said that just last month a committee made up of officials from his Ministry, the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Environment , Wildlife and Tourism met and came up with suggestions on how the residents of CKGR can be helped.
He said that those suggestions have since been presented to the committee of Ministers who will take them to the cabinet for final decisions.
On whether the concerned residents have had input in those suggestions, he said, “We have taken their input in a series of meetings we had with them around May.”
He, however, declined to say what some of those suggestions were.
“I am not able to assist you in that regard as the suggestions have been passed to my superiors,” he said.
Recently, residents of Metsimanong and Molapo Settlements in the CKGR declined to be counted, raising the issue that the government was neglecting them and refusing to give them assistance that she was giving to other Batswana around the country.
Molapo and Metsimanong are homes to CKGR activists Roy Sesana and Gakelebone who have been spearheading calls for the residents to refuse to be counted.
Attempts to get the two activists’ view on this were fruitless as their mobile phones were not on air and were believed to be in CKGR.
CKGR residents first made headlines when they first took the government to Court for denying them water in the reserve and finally won the Court battle that allowed them to drill boreholes in the reserve. Thanks to good Samaritans who came to their aid, the process of drilling boreholes is currently on going.
Survival International paid all their legal bills and government did not take kindly to that, saying SI was interfering in the internal affairs of Botswana, whilst CKGR residents praised the organisation for their help.