As a move to prevent human/wildlife conflict, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama has informed Khumaga residents that the ministry could only afford to install a new game proof fence alongside Makgadikgadi, and could not afford to refurbish the existing one.
Minister Khama informed residents during a kgotla meeting on Tuesday, August 11 in Khumaga that the government was incapacitated to maintain the fence since there were some people amongst the residents who steal the solar panels intended to scare wild animals.
He proposed that the fence be installed along the Boteti River which was on the side of the village rather than on the side of the Makgadikgadi National Park as that would enable residents to easily maintain it.
The minister explained that maintaining the fence on the riverbed, which is where it is currently located, was a challenge.
He requested residents to devise a resolution with regard to where the fence could be installed, highlighting that the current location of the fence was risky, citing the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease by buffaloes.
He noted that wild animals could not be herded like domestic animals. Mr Khama noted that it was critical to ensure that movement of lions and elephants across the river into the village was restricted.
He reiterated that moving the fence to the side of the village along the river could be beneficial to the community, as it would enable them to easily take care of their livestock, adding that it would also create job opportunities.
The principal scientific officer at the Department of Agriculture, Mr John Kgosiemang said the European Union research had since disapproved of the status of Zone 4 a game proof fence, and expressed concern that ever since the research was undertaken there has been no progress on its maintenance, but were scheduled to conduct the research again in October 2015.
The area, he said, was risky to Foot and Mouth Disease due to the current status of the game proof fence.
Whilst the acting deputy director of wild life, Mr Moemi Batshabang explained that the game proof fence was established from 2003 to 2004 when the river was not flowing, and that it was appropriate to install it on the riverbed.
Mr Batshabang noted that since the river began flowing, elephants’ movement started in Zone 4a, and they damaged the fence crossing into tribal land as the solar panels were stolen.
He highlighted that while the river was flowing elephant movements and its population would remain in Zone 4a.
Commenting, Mr Galebitse Radijo requested clarification on where the grazing and ploughing land would be located if the game proof fence would be installed along the river on the side of the village.
Kgosi Gonkgang Mankgatau of Rakops said he was also confused as the tribe, saying it has to be laid out clearly as to what would happen to their fields, boreholes and grazing land since they would be fenced if it was installed on the side of the village.
Councillor Thomas Kgethenyane of Khumaga said it was essential to strike a balance, saying those interested in tourism or farming should not be disadvantaged when installing the game proof fence.
Minister Khama said the intension was not to take tribal land, and that he has never proposed that the fence should be installed along the main road as the tribe assumed.