Stalled handover of a concession irks villagers
As fear mounts that Nata Conservation Trust could lose concession area CT/5 due to lease agreement complications, the trust is determined to ensure that the area remains under their custodianship.
In an emotional plea to Botswana Tourism Organisation Chief Executive Officer Myra Sekgororoane, the Trust Chairperson Kerileng Garebolele said there’s a disturbing silence from the government and the concerned ministry about the area which was awarded to them in 2009.
“This area can really help us improve the economy of the village because it has all the big five. Our attempts to find out why we can’t go on with our plans to develop the area as we’ve had investors showing interest have hit a snag. We’ve been told about leases and no one is coming out to explain what exactly they are talking about,” said a visibly concerned Garebolele.
Nata Conservation Trust is made up of the four villages of Nata, Manxotai, Sepako and Maposa who sits on a prime area in Makgadikgadi.
Garebolele found time to air his grievances during the official handing over ceremony of Information Technology equipment to Kgosi Letsogo Kgaswa and Nata Conservation Trust by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) last Friday.
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“The initial plan was for us to set up lodges, campsites and other entertainment areas for tourists, but as we speak nothing is happening, the area is just wasting away,” he said.
Garebolele said they’ve had several meetings with the former Minister for Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama to get to the bottom of the issue but no help has been forthcoming.
“We’ve put together a delegation that will head to Gaborone to meet the new Minister Philda Kereng,” he said; adding, “Hopefully she’ll respond positively. Last year BTO promised us that a tender would be floated in October, but nothing of the sort has happened,” a disappointed Garebolele said.
Giving her remarks at the same ceremony BTO CEO, said they understand that there’s still a stand off between the village of Nata and Sua Town concerning the annual Makgadikgadi Epic, a skydiving annual event.
Sekgororoane said they are aware that Nata Bird Sanctuary is the original home of the popular event which was relocated to the soda ash town following the devastation caused by cyclone Dineo in 2016/17.
“Consultations are ongoing to find if the event should return to Nata,” she said.
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The area Member of Parliament, Polson Majaga was however dismissive of the idea to return the event to Nata saying it has established
itself in Sowa Town.
“The issue of Makgadikgadi Epic should be discussed with sober minds and concluded amicably. Its already in Sowa and I think in Nata we should come up with something else,” said Majaga.