Gaborone — Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism is in the process of empowering communities by identifying areas with tourism potential through which they can benefit.
This was said by the minister incharge, Ms Phildah Kereng Wednesday in response to a question tabled in Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.
She stated that the process had started with campsites and that Two Rivers and BORAVAST Community Trust had been identified as beneficiaries.
Ms Kereng said guidelines for management and handling of campsites were being developed and would be shared with Kgalagadi South Sub-district Council by the end of February.
She said the ministry, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), had supported BORAVAST Community Trust for the development of a charcoal production project.
Through the collaboration, trust members had been trained with equipment procured for charcoal production, she stated.
Ms Kereng said the ministry had also identified a heritage trail through Kgalagadi South together with sites for camping.
She revealed that value chain studies had been undertaken for Kgalagadi aimed at stimulating the region’s economy implementation of which would be undertaken through UNDP sponsorship.
The ministry, she stated, was exploring other areas with tourism potential within Kgalagadi South for the community to utilise and earn a living.
Among the areas that the ministry was working with Ms Kereng mentioned Khuis and Bokspits.
Specially elected Kgosi Charles Hendricks had asked the minister if there were any considerations for allocating concessions to the BORAVAST community.
Ntlo Ya Dikgosi also learnt that efforts were underway to engage communities living around the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) in a joint venture project with Sanparks.
Ms Kereng explained that currently, the Memorundum of Agreement (MoA) between Botswana and South Africa on KTP did not require one partner country to employ citizens of the other.
She said the Ipelegeng Programme was used for engaging communities for maintenance of the fence at BORAVAST and Khawa while at Zutshwa, youth entrepreneurs were engaged for the upkeep of the entrance gate at Khaa Pans.
Kgosi Hendricks had asked if the ministry was considering liaising with Sansparks to employ Batswana on the KTP joint venture project.
Responding to another question tabled by Kgosi Tjazako Munduu of Ngami Region, Ms Kereng said the ministry was concerned about unprecedented delays in maintaining firebreaks across the country.
Kgosi Munduu had asked the minister to explain the delay in maintenance of firebreaks in Ngamiland.
She said the delay in Ngamiland was attributed to poor performance by the contractor awarded a three-year contract (2017-2019) for the job.
Minister Kereng said for the 2021/22 financial year, the ministry would be undertaking maintenance of the firebreaks through an open tender.
Source : BOPA