Botswana: Government plans to cut off social services to induce indigenous Basarwa out of Ranyane Settlement, leaked confidential report

According to Mr. Keikabile Mogodu, the Executive Director of Botswana Khwedom Council, an indigenous organization advocating for the political and cultural rights of the San people of Botswana, the government of Botwana has, since 2002, refused to recognize the Basarwa community area as a village. Instead, the government is going ahead with plans to relocate them from their ancestral lands.

This year, the Botswana Khwedom Council, worked tirelessly to bring the threat faced by Basarwa community to the public and it ended up in the court where the government was forced to halt the eviction and entered into a settlement with the San of Ranyane.

That was a temporary arrangement as it has now emerged that the government has come up with a plan to cut off access to basic social services for the community as an inducement to force them off their land.

Khonani Ontebetse, a journalist from Gaborone chronicles the details of the planned eviction.

A confidential report passed to the Sunday Standard reveals how government plans to starve Basarwa out of Ranyane Settlement in the Ghanzi District.

The report, entitled “Ranyane Relocation Phase II”, presented by the Ghanzi District details the government’s military scorched earth strategy to force the remaining Basarwa out of Ranyane Settlement: Boreholes will be sealed. Food baskets, old age pensions and mobile health services will be terminated.

The report, which is complete with timelines, revealed that the government would on the 28th July meet with the remaining Ranyane residents to inform them of termination of services (food basket, old age pension allowance, pay point and destitutes, monthly mobile health stop, and Headman of arbitration).

According to the report, Ghanzi District is undertaking another relocation of Ranyane residents to Bere and Chobokwane from 12 to 20 August 2013. The report shows that a total of 20 families had shown interest to be relocated; 11 households were assessed on 26 June at Ranyane, 10 are already in Bere and have not been assessed.

The report further states that as part of an effort to relocate those who resisted relocation, the government will apply for a court order on 10th September. Curiously, the government has already pegged its plans on a court eviction order being granted in its favour even before approaching the courts. The report states that “eviction order available (on 10 September) and on the same there will be eviction of those who resist relocation”.

Another option, the report states, would be removal of engine, bore hole sealing, dismantling of kraals, demolishing Kgotla toilets, stand pipe and mobile toilets.

The report also shows that the government has mobilised resources to carry out the relocation exercise.
On 8 July a delegation from Ghanzi District would descend on Ranyane ground “to inform Ranyane Community on the District Action plan (next relocation, termination of services and eviction)”.

The proposed budget for the relocation will cost the government millions of Pula. The community budget, which include food basket, is estimated to cost Pula 36,000 (USD 4000) and the provision is meant to cater for estimated 20 families for three months at P600 (USD 70) per family.

Food catering will cost P76,000 (USD 8500) and is meant to assist in the provisions of meals for families on arrival at Bere and for officers’ engaged on relocation exercise.

Temporary Water supply will cost P40,000 (USD 4500). For the long term availability of water in Bere, which will include consultancy, design fee, installation of engine will cost more than P7 million (USD 800,000). The report states that 50 officers will be deployed at Bere and Ranyane to assist in the relocation exercise.

Subsistence allowance for the officers is estimated to cost P240,000 (USD 25,000) and the report shows that the government departments budget have been overstretched during the first relocation.

“Court case applicants who will be relocated should sign affidavit to ascertain that they have truly communicated with their lawyers about relocation,” states the report.

Last week, the government spokesmen Dr. Jeff Ramsay denied that the government was on course to terminate services to Basarwa saying, “There haven’t been cut off of any service. What is happening is that an assessment is being done regarding the Ipelegeng programme.”

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Date: 06/08/2013




Peoples under Threat 2013
Culture and Tradition
Indigenous Peoples
Land Rights

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