Rakops — Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism will take over supervision of Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pan boundary fence alignment construction.
Minister Tshekedi Khama told residents of Rakops at a kgotla meeting he addressed jointly with Minister of Agriculture and Food security Mr Patrick Ralotsia in Rakops on Tuesday.
He expressed concern with the current human/wildlife conflict situation that prevails in Boteti, noting that the move would enable the ministry to closely monitor the project and ensure timely completion.
Mr Khama explained that in 2015, his ministry took a decision to erect 105-kilometre boundary fence alignment from Phuduhudu to Sookwane on the side of tribal land, fencing the river inside the park to prevent animals from entering tribal land as they destroyed the fence, which was initially on the side of the park to access water.
The Department of Buildings and Engineering Services, he said, was tasked with the responsibility to supervise installation of the fence and the project encountered some challenges deterring its completion.
The contractor, who was engaged to erect the fence, he said, had some grievances with regard to the project and lodged his complaint at court, hence the delay.
He noted that the contractor had removed the whole old fence before erecting a new one and wild animals, especially elephants, had free movement into tribal land.
Minister Khama further indicated that since the number of elephants in Botswana exceeded the population, it was time to consider lifting the hunting ban, but noted that only citizens should be allowed to hunt.
He stated that it was essential to establish a list of animals that could be hunted, citing that the most challenging factor was that other countries prohibited entry of animal products.
Khumaga residents, he said, would be allocated campsites, but noted they should agree on a location of where campsites could be erected.
Mr Khama also raised a concern that Batswana were not major stakeholders in the tourism sector, saying they only participated as employees.
The minister further stated that the ministry was allocated P21 million for compensation of damages by wild animals last year to cover 2016/17 damages, and in 2018, the ministry was allocated P19 million to pay for 2018/2019 damages.
The minister was responding to Rakops Village Development Committee deputy chairperson, Ms Bashingi Boingotlo, who raised a concern that the number of elephants in Botswana exceeded people's population and that they had also killed people and damaged a lot of property.
Ms Boingotlo proposed that government should find a market for elephants to enable it to accumulate funds for a boundary fence that could prevent wild animals from entering tribal land.
She also called for the hunting ban to be lifted.
Ms Boingotlo requested expansion of the wildlife office in Rakops as well as increase of vehicles. She requested that youths should be allocated campsites and called for compensation of farmers whose land was on the riverbed and was repossessed to pave way for the boundary fence.
She also indicated that Khumaga residents had since been promised campsites, but such had not materialised to date.
Ms Boingotlo requested for Problem Animal Control (PAC) office at Khumaga.
One resident, Mr Martin Engliton had complained that elephants relocated to his farm when the river dried and destroyed his reservoir.
Mr Engliton indicated that due to the damage, he had suffered financial loss, as he had to use one and half drums of water to supply his livestock per month.
Source : BOPA