July 5, 2004

San in court battle

About 241 residents of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in Botswana have registered to testify in court in their fight for their government's recognition of their right to reside in the game reserve. The San residents took the Botswana government to court in 2002 in a bid to reverse the government's decision to stop the provision of basic services to the residents since January 31, 2002. Some of the residents have left the CKGR, where their forebears have lived for thousands of years. They lost the case and launched an appeal in 2003, where the court ruled that both parties must get back to court.
The residents are claiming that the termination of services to the reserve by the Botswana government was unlawful and unconstitutional. The services included provision of drinking water, food rations to registered destitute and orphaned children, transport to and from school, healthcare and pension. They also want residents who have been forced to move due to the termination of services to be returned to their homes in the reserve as they have been "unlawfully dispossessed" of their land. The reserve was once home to over 5.000 people, of whom 3.000 left due to the termination of the services. (New Era, Windhoek)

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