In a move designed to cement ties, the Botswana Ash (BOTASH) donated two vehicles worth over P569 000 to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust (KRST). The Rhino Sanctuary is a community based wildlife project in the Central District which was established in 1992 to help save the endangered rhinos, revive the natural state of the area and contribute to the economic benefit of the residents through sustainable use of natural resources.
At the handover ceremony which took place last week, BOTASH Managing Director Montwedi Mphathi said the donation is another way of strengthening their relationship with KRST more so that both organisations are embarking on wildlife and nature preservation initiatives. “Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust is mandated with preserving or protecting endangered species particularly rhinos. Our relationship with Khama Rhino Sanctuary spans many years ago. We are also embarking on what Khama Rhino Sanctuary is doing as BOTASH by preserving wildlife in our own area. We have different species of wildlife such as duikers, kudus, flamingoes and pelicans in our area. Wildlife plays a very important role in the economy through tourism which helps diversify the economy,” Mphathi said.
Mphathi pledged that the mine will continue to help KRST and learn from the Trust. He said that their wish is to see the Trust grow into a proper commercial park that will lure in more tourists in the area. He pleaded with parents to bring their children into KRST so that they can learn about the Trust, see the animals and appreciate the beauty of the area. On a different note, Mpathi said that BOTASH which is the largest producer of Soda Ash in the region will continue with its operations for many more years to come.
“I want to assure you that BOTASH is here to stay and will continue to exist for centuries,” he said. Receiving the donation, the Chairman of Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust (KRST) Bathusi Letlhare lauded BOTASH for its gesture and added that the Trust has over the years continued to place the area on the map due to its popularity. He also commended the villages in the vicinity of the trust for being supportive resulting in the success of KRST.
“Khama Rhino Santuary Trust began in 1992. We began as a non- profit making organization that seeks to protect animals for future generations. The idea was hatched by the local chiefs and we want to continue their legacy. The organisation has also created employment for people in this region as we currently have 50 employees. We believe the donation of vehicles by BOTASH will go a long way in helping KRST employees to patrol the area, protect the animals and undertake other duties,” he said.
Giving her vote of thanks, the District Commissioner, Thobo Letlhage also showered accolades on BOTASH for its gesture. “What we are witnessing today is evidence that the two, BOTASH and Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust are true partners and friends. One other important aspect that people should know is that BOTASH is doing very well as a mine and on conservation initiatives,” she said.
The event was also graced by a number of local authorities from various villages around the area. Entrenched in the outskirts of Serowe and Paje villages, KRST covers approximately 8585 hectares of land and currently provides habitat for white and black rhino as well as over 30 other animal species and more than 230 species of birds. The activities offered by the Trust include among others, game drives, guided drives, nature walks, and Educational activities.