Botswana: Ministry Committed to Supporting Communities

Gaborone — Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has extended its support to Matlapana Community Trust to undertake management of an area known as the Maun Beach to generate income.

Minister Philda Kereng said her ministry was committed to supporting communities utilizing resources within their locality for income generating activities.

Answering a question at Ntlo Ya Dikgosi on Thursday, Ms Kereng said if the community could be given the rights to manage that area, it would assist in the protection of the environment and generate income.

She indicated that some of the support given to Matlapana Community Trust included the P1 000 000 funding they received through the Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) for the development of a Botanical Garden and campsite at their allocated site.

The minister said the old Matlapana Bridge had been re-developed and the ministry was in the process of developing ablution facilities to allow the community to manage the site, as it was popular used for wedding photographs.

She further pointed out that the North West District Council had applied for the user rights of the area known as "the Beach" with an understanding that the Matlapana Community Trust would be responsible for managing the area.

She said the Council was still waiting for feedback from the Land Board, adding that the decision to have the council apply for the area was due to competing requests for the allocation of the same area.

Ms Kereng therefore encouraged the village leadership to support the Matlapana Community Trust's request to be given the right to manage the area.

"Internal differences in the village on who should be allocated the land delayed my ministry's facilitation of the Trust to manage and generate income from the area," she said, adding that she could therefore not provide a timeline as the area had not yet been given to the Trust to manage.

Specially elected member, Kgosi Oatleng Setlhodi had wanted the minister to explain if there were any plans to assist Matlapana Development Trust to acquire and utilize the land commonly known as "Maun beach" to sustained their livelihood as a community through tourism related activities.

Kgosi Setlhodi further wanted the minister to provide a time frame for implementation of such.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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