Beitbridge calls on National Parks to compensate

Ellen Mlambo
BEITBRIDGE – Beitbridge residents have called for a policy to compensate villagers and farmers injured or killed during human wildlife conflicts.
The residents proposed this during a meeting convened by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality to review the 1992 Wildlife Policy. The meeting was held at Mutsa Lodge in Beitbridge on Thursday and delegates were drawn from Forestry Commission, Rangeland Restoration Trust , Bubi Conservancy and Government officials among others.
About 40 people attended the meeting chaired by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Chief Environment Officer Joseph Shoko. The review meetings are being held countrywide, Two Nations was told.
The 1992 Wildlife Policy is a framework that mainly deals with promotion of sustainable wildlife management and it looks at the benefits drawn from proper use of wildlife resources.
Forestry Commission District Officer Zibusiso Ndlovu concurred with the proposal but said such compensation should come from various authorities involved in the area of wildlife and environmental management.
He also wanted the budgets to be linked to devolution with districts and provinces controlling some funds for compensation.
“The compensation framework must be linked to devolution where all natural resources management stakeholders must be challenged through the Parks and Wildlife Policy,” he added.
A local farmer and Beitbridge ward 5 ZANU PF aspiring councillor Thusani Ndou said there is a problem of hyenas in Beitbridge that feast on goats, donkeys and cattle resulting in loss of livestock and hence there is need for compensation of such loses.
Rangeland Restoration Trust district project coordinator Methuseli Maphala also called for the inclusion of compensation in the policy.
He however argued that the compensation must be limited and only applied to deserving situations.
“People will tend to exaggerate their losses and there should be no full compensation but some compassionate approach,” he said.
Two Nations later had an interview with the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Chief Environment Officer Joseph Shoko on the sidelines of the meeting.
He said that there is no policy currently that provides for compensation in the case of human wildlife conflict.
He said that the meeting agreed that such a policy should be put in place.

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