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Challenges may impoverish Bobirwa - legislator

Bobonong MP, Mr Taolo Lucas, has expressed fear that challenges besieging the constituency may drive residents into poverty.

While addressing residents of Gobojango and Semolale recently, Mr Lucas said escalating stock theft, rampant crop destruction by elephants and shortage of water might swiftly slide his constituency into a poverty zone.

Responding to grievances from residents in two kgotla meetings, Mr Lucas said the community relied on farming and when their means of survival was trampled upon then they would be left in economical lurch.

The legislator said the electorate would, as a result, queue up for Ipelegeng, as the only available means of survival. 

Semolale residents stated that elephants had forced them off their fields due to rampant destruction of field fences, which ultimately invited other opportunists animals to feed on crops.

A village development committee report in Semolale showed that nine residents collected seeds from the department of crops offices for farming.

Again, the residents of Gobojango and Semolale reported that apart from elephants, other animals such baboons and hyenas also gave them sleepless nights.

Consequently, they appealed to government to include baboons and hyenas in the list of compensatory animals. They stated that compensation from animals should be an equivalent of destruction caused.

Adding to the people of Mabolwe, Semolale and Gobojango’s (MASEGO) misery was the swelling of cross border stock theft statistics. 

Semolale Police Station showed that from January to November 2019, a total of 641 cattle, 174 goats, 22 sheep and 20 donkeys were reportedly smuggled in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Station commander, Mr Boipuso Baatweng opined that indeed the stock theft statistics backed claims that the people of MASEGO region could be impoverished.

However, the station commander showed that his office recorded a decline of stock theft in December. 

He credited such a move to community involvement in patrolling the border line.

A resident, Mr Opadile Mokenti, said in on January 11 this year, thieves stole his 80 goats and 40 sheep in Semolale.

Mr Mokenti said some amount of force and aggression should be meted onto the cross border stock rustlers as a deterrent.

He claimed that the thieves had realised that Batswana were peaceful and that nothing would be done to them since the special support group and soldiers could not shoot unarmed men. 

Mr Mokenti alleged that the thieves had become arrogant, rogue and violent to farmers.

Some residents called for a meeting between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his counterpart Mr Emerson Mnangagwa to find amicable solution in the problem of stock.

Mr Lucas said it was time wildlife officers demonstrated their skills and expertise in dealing with elephants. 

He said the officers must put down strategies that would bar elephants from encroaching human spaces.

Though informed about strategies that constituents could use to scare elephants, Mr Lucas said it would always be a daunting task to scare elephants.

As an amelioration to the challenges, Mr Lucas said the problems of stock theft and human wildlife conflict needed a cross pollination of ideas and should be addressed by all relevant ministries

Wildlife officer, Mr Gilbert Montsho had informed the residents of Gobojango on methods to use to scare elephants.

He, however, admitted that his office had received reports of elephants’ destruction at the ploughing fields.

Mr Montsho advised residents to burn chilli, but hastened to show that intelligent as they were, elephants would change direction so as not to smell it. 

He also informed residents that where they were attacked they were empowered by the Wildlife Act of 1992 to defend themselves by eliminating the animal. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Manowe Motsaathebe

Location : GOBOJANGO/SEMOLALE

Event : Kgotla meeting

Date : Jan 21 Tue,2020

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