The government will spend 70-million Pula to improve the livelihoods of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) Basarwa through improved access to clean water, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Back in 2011, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Basarwa of CKGR in 2011, declaring that they were entitled to access to water inside the reserve. The government had previously insisted that it was under no obligation to supply them with water. This recent development follows the government’s attempt to make amends with the Basarwa communities following a well-publicised legal tussle that is thus far the longest and most expensive in Botswana’s legal annals.
Over the last two weeks, the government dispatched a four-strong cabinet team comprising the Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila; the Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Phelda Kereng; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale and the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti to address meetings at the Basarwa settlements.
According to Minister Mzwinila, the meetings resolved to have two boreholes drilled at Gugamma, two at Metsiamanong, one at Molapo and another at Mothomelo.
“The estimated cost for all the boreholes was 16-million Pula while over 55-million Pula would go towards the construction of a water treatment plant and a water reticulation system,” he said.
Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will assume total authority over water services at those settlements upon completion of the project, the Minister added. In addition to bringing much-needed potable water to the communities, the project is expected to lead to improved eco-tourism in the desert area. The communities are also due to benefit from a ranch in Ghanzi that the government undertook to reserve for them.