source: Republic of Botswana (6/6/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 6 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"
C2) 3/6/10: Joint Press Statement from the Government of Botswana, the CKGR Residents' Committee and the CKGR Non-Governmental Organisations' Coalition on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve Consultation Process
(Please find below original text Joint Press statement with further note on small correction to original text)
Following the CKGR Court Case ruling on 13 December 2006, where Justice Phumaphi stated that 'this judgment does not finally resolve the dispute between the parties but merely refers them back to the negotiating table', a number of activities have taken place with regard to finding an amicable solution through the CKGR consultation process.
Consultations had previously held with the Negotiating Team (a then-representative group of CKGR residents, supported by a group of NGOs). These had effectively been suspended by the court action instituted by the Negotiating Team in 2002. The court action had been brought as a result of the cessation of the provision of basic and essential services to the residents of the CKGR and the relocation of the residents of the CKGR to settlements outside the CKGR by the Government of Botswana.
On the 12 June 2008, a delegation of five Basarwa / San, led by Roy Sesana, met with His Excellency the President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, to request that the matter of the CKGR be dealt with by the Government. President Khama advised that the delegation return to their settlements and arrange for selection of representatives (of both former and current CKGR communities) so that consultations could begin between them and the Government. The meeting also agreed that local NGOs be enlisted to assist in the process.
On 26 November 2008, the first meeting was held between the two parties (Government and CKGR residents). The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the Residents' Committee to those members of the Government delegation with whom it would be engaged on the matter of the consultations about the CKGR and related issues. It was agreed at the meeting that there would be three representative bodies engaged in the consultation process, namely:
1. The Government of Botswana, represented by an Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; the Ministry of Local Government; the Office of the President; the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security; the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs; and the Attorney General's Chambers. The Inter-Ministerial Committee is chaired by the Honourable Phandu C. T. Skelemani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Government Consultation delegation is led by the Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.
2. The Residents' Committee of the CKGR, which comprised of representatives (chosen from both the current and former residents of the CKGR) from the settlements of: Xere, Molapo, Mothomelo, Kikao, Gope, Gugamma, New Xade and Kaudwane. The settlement of Metsiamanong had chosen not to participate in the process. The Residents' Committee was chosen through consultative processes facilitated by a team of the CKGR NGO Coalition. The team comprised the First People of the Kalahari, the Kuru Family of Organisations and Ditshwanelo - the Botswana Centre for Human Rights.
3. The CKGR NGO Coalition, which comprised of the Botswana Council of Churches; the Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations; DITSHWANELO (the Botswana Centre for Human Rights); the First People of The Kalahari; the Kuru Family of Organisations; the University of Botswana Research Centre for San Studies (formerly the UB/Tromsø Basarwa Research Programme); and the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (Botswana Chapter). It was further agreed that the function of the CKGR NGO Coalition is to facilitate the process of engagement between the current and former residents of the CKGR and the Government of Botswana. DITSHWANELO serves as the Secretariat of the CKGR NGO Coalition.
On 11 September 2009, a second meeting was held between the Government delegation (led by Honourable Minister Mokaila) and the CKGR Residents' Committee, duly assisted by the CKGR NGO Coalition.
At this meeting, the ground rules and an Action Plan for the consultation process were drawn-up and agreed upon. The Plan of Action included a schedule and programme of consultation visits to be undertaken by Government officials to settlements inside and outside the CKGR. These were consequently undertaken on 28 September 2009; during the period of 5 - 10 October; and on 10 November 2009. Members of the CKGR Residents' Committee attended and participated in consultation meetings in their respective settlements, whilst the CKGR NGO Coalition attended all the community consultation meetings.
On 2 May 2010, a third meeting was held between the Government delegation and the CKGR Residents' Committee, duly assisted by the CKGR NGO Coalition. The aims of the meeting were:
(i)To consider the Government Officials' Report on the consultation meetings held with CKGR communities in September and October 2009. Members of the CKGR Residents' Committee present from specific settlements confirmed the accuracy of the reports concerning their respective settlements. The consultation meetings were held in Xere, Molapo, Metsiamanong, Mothomelo, Gope, Gugamma, Kaudwane and New Xade.
(ii) To agree on the next round of community consultation meetings planned for 3 to 9 May 2010. The meeting was informed that there had been requests made to the Government Officials from communities that Honourable Minister Mokaila should visit them to hear their issues directly. Honourable Minister Mokaila confirmed his availability for the scheduled community consultations for the period of 3-9 May 2010.
During the period 3-9 May 2010, community consultation meetings were held in Molapo, Xere, Metsiamanong, Kikao, Kaudwane, Gugamma, Gope and New Xade. Residents of Mothomelo met Honourable Minister Mokaila in Kikao, as advised by the Residents' Committee. Members of the CKGR Residents' Committee participated in and were present in their respective settlements.
On 20 May 2010, a report-back meeting was held in Gaborone, between Government delegation members who accompanied Honourable Minister Mokaila on the tour and the CKGR NGO Coalition. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the reports of both the Government and the CKGR NGO Coalition. It was also agreed at this meeting that a joint press statement should be released at the conclusion of Honourable Minister Mokaila's consultation visits, and be effected as soon as possible to inform the public on the CKGR consultation process.
It should be noted that all the parties are committed to transparency, integrity and trust with regard to the process, and to holding all discussions without prejudice.
NB: Since first issuing the Statement its Authors of the above statement have further informed the public that - "It is important to note that the decision to produce a press statement was taken at the meeting between the Government of Botswana and the CKGR Residents' Committee on 2 May 2010 and NOT at the meeting of 20 May 2010. This is an error which is in the second last paragraph.'