The government spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, says it is not true that the government has been misleading the nation and the world at large by saying that the removal of Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) residents from the reserve was done for the sake of preserving the reserve whilst the truth was that they were relocated in order to make way for diamond mining.
The accusations were made by individuals and leaders of opposition parties in Botswana after the announcement late last month that the government had given a diamond mining company a license to mine in the reserve.
Dismissing the accusations, Ramsay said that they were not true as the government has always stated that “there were diamonds in the reserve but that they are not of an economical value and that if they were of any economic value, they would be mined”.
Ramsay said this has been government stand on the issue from the beginning and has never changed. He further said that this stand is well documented in papers and speeches made by former President Festus Mogae in several forums in the country and abroad and can be accessed on the Internet.
Ramsay said that it was worrying him to find that people, including opposition leaders had, after the announcement of government having given out a license for a company to mine diamonds in the reserve, begun making false accusations that the government had never told the truth about the presence of diamonds in the reserve when it had done so in a variety of forums.
Gem Diamonds has been given a licence to open a multi-billion Pula diamond inside the Reserve.
After the announcement of the government having issued a mining license to the diamond mining company, the government was condemned by opposition parties for being untrustworthy.
A few days after the announcement, CKGR residents won a milestone appeal, which gave them the right to drill as many boreholes in the reserve as they want.
Government has since announced that it will respect the Court of Appeal decision.