Government acted illegally, admits witness

A government witness has admitted that his department stopped issuing hunting licences to Bushmen living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, even though it had no legal right to do so.

Joseph Matlhare, former Director of Wildlife, claimed that his department stopped issuing the licences following a decision by central government in 2001. Under Botswana law, only Parliament could make such a decision.

The issue is important because the Bushmen living in the reserve rely on hunting for their livelihoods. Since the Department of Wildlife stopped issuing licences, many Bushmen have faced hunger and some have been arrested for hunting illegally.