Government's reason for evicting Bushmen shown to be false

May 19, 2005

This page was created in 2005 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The Assistant Director in charge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Jan Broekhuis, has admitted in court that he ignored a 2001 Bushmen proposal which would have maintained the Bushmen's water supply at zero cost to the government. He explained that government policy dictated simply that no services could be provided inside the reserve.

Although appearing for the government, his testimony shows that when the government said it was evicting the Bushmen because it was 'too expensive' to provide services such as water (the first reason given for the evictions), this was a fabrication.

He also admitted that since 2002 any Bushman who wished to return home must apply for a permit; if granted, these are only valid for a very few days. The application must be made in writing (most of the Bushmen are illiterate) and handed in 200 kms away. When asked whether making such applications might be a problem for the Bushmen, the Assistant Director claimed to have no knowledge about the level of Bushmen illiteracy.

Last week Jan Broekhuis made the astonishing claim that it was possible to draft a plan for managing the reserve without even knowing whether the Bushmen were living there or not.