- Residents employed by OKMCT to lose jobs
Around 366 residents of Ditshiping settlement within the NG17 concession have been negatively affected by their decision to leave Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKMCT), as the latter has since reportedly locked up its borehole situated within the village which feeds the residents.
The conflict between the two began eight years ago after a group of 52 concerned residents of Ditshiping through Honey Guide Adventure Trust launched a court case seeking permission for the village to break away from OKMCT. Their request was subsequently granted last year in September by Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Tebogo Tau.
The court ordered that OKMCT be audited so that the two can share assets to allow Honey Guide Adventure Trust to commence operation.
A Ditshiping resident, William Kelatlhilwe told this publication that OKMCT has since locked the borehole which he indicated is the only source of safe drinking water for the village adding that the trust has also stopped providing diesel for the borehole.
“The borehole has been out of bounds since October 2022, we were told that it is because the borehole is a property of OKMCT and they have decided to implement the court order meaning we will not be enjoying benefits from OKMCT,” Kelathilwe said
He noted that they currently get drinking water from the river even though they are aware that it is not safe for consumption.
Honey Guide Trust Manager Nametso Nketso also alleged that OKMCT has stopped them from accessing the borehole that provide residents with water.
“The borehole has been locked and their reasons are that the borehole is theirs and since we have decided to pull out of their trust we cannot use the borehole,” Nketso said.
Nketso noted that according to the court order an audit was supposed to be made in order to share assets which she said has not been done.
For his part OKMCT Manager Seikaneng Moepedi confirmed that the trust has since started implementing a court order from last year after the newly appointed District Commissioner Thabang Waloka called the two parties to put an end to the conflict.
“We are just implementing the court order by not buying fuel for the borehole since they are now not beneficiaries of OKMCT but we have made the borehole keys available for residents to buy their own diesel,” Moepedi told this publication.
He stated that their borehole operator has the key to it and they continue to provide transport and paying his salary adding that whoever wants to provide the residents with fuel are free to do so.
Meanwhile Moepedi has revealed that around 42 community members of Ditshiping who were hired by safari companies operating within OKMCT land as beneficiaries of the trust will also lose their jobs since they are now not part of OKMCT, this he said will pave way for employment for the remaining beneficiary villages.