THE marginalised San community residing in the Bwabwata National Park in the Kavango East region has asked the government to provide them with livelihood projects to reduce their reliance on the government.
This request was communicated by the community's representative, David Mushavanga, at the townhall meeting at Rundu in the Kavango East region on Friday, where president Hage Geingob met with the residents of the region to give feedback on state issues.
Mushavanga, in his submission on behalf of the group, said the government should look at introducing livelihood projects for their communities because the members of these communities are mostly unemployed.
He added that there is agricultural land within the park, and there was a project called the Omega agricultural project which was initiated by the government under the Namibia Development Corporation, now Namibia Industrial Development Agency, but it has since closed down.
The government should thus reactivate the project as the community survived on it, the representative urged.
"We are a community of people where most of us are not employed because of our level of education. Why can't the government provide us with some livelihood projects so that we can be independent? We are also tired of being called marginalised," stressed Mushavanga. He further called on the government to direct 25% of the funds received through hunting concessions to be ploughed back into the community. Although the president and ministers could not respond to questions and concerns raised by the different sectors in the region as the meeting ended late, a response was given on the Presidency's social media page that the government will increase the benefits for residents in the Bwabwata National Park.
However, environment and tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta on Thursday in the Kavango West region's townhall meeting where a similar question was asked regarding benefits in conservancies, stated that communities are supposed to benefit from the money that comes from conservancies, and that the ministry only pays out these monies if statements on how the money is utilised are provided by the traditional authorities.