News24

Botswana Bushmen case reserved

2010-06-10 10:06

Gaborone - A Botswana court on Wednesday reserved judgement in the case of Bushmen who were forced off their land by the government to make way for a game park in Central Kalahari.

In 2002, the Botswana government evicted the Bushmen and closed a borehole which was their only source of water, in the arid Kalahari region.

"This is a clear case of violation of the human rights, people cannot be expected to live without water, that is impossible," said Gordon Bennett, a lawyer representing the group.

A date for the judgement was not set.

The state argued that the removal of the Bushmen was lawful, as stipulated in the National Settlement Policy, which declared their land a place for flora and fauna.

"The game reserve was long stipulated a place for animals and vegetation, government has no obligation to provide any services to those who chose to stay there," said state advocate Paul Belger.

Government has ignored a 2006 High Court ruling which gave the impoverished group the right to stay in their ancestral land.

The Bushmen are southern Africa's first inhabitants, the majority of them are poor and marginalised, excluded from the government's welfare services.

Some 100 000 of them remain in region, spread across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.