By Confidente Reporter
THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism says it will investigate a safari operator- SMJ Safaris for allegedly ill-treating the San community residing in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) in Tsumkwe, Confidente has learnt.
Confidente is also informed that SMJ Safaris is also going to be investigated for allegedly breaking the hunting code after the tour operator reportedly hunted female wild animals as well as for game at watering holes.
The ministry says the allegations being levelled against SMJ Safaris are very serious.
The Ministry of Environment speaking through its chief public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda, Tuesday, said it had received a petition from disgruntled members of the San community about their alleged ill-treatment by SMJ Safaris management owned by Stephan and Anza Jacobs.
“We received a petition from concerned group members, although it was not signed by many people we assume it represents the affected people. We received allegations of ill-treatment of local people as well as a violation of the hunting code. The ministry will look into the matter and an investigation will be commissioned. Based on the outcome of the investigation.
The allegations levelled in the petition are very serious,” Muyunda said. tion the ministry will take a decision.
Meanwhile, Confidente is informed that at least 11 people from the San community have since been suspended as members of the Nyae Nyae conservancy and will not receive the average N$1 500 members of the conservancy get from SMJ Safaris as financial proceeds realised from hunting activities when tourists pay money to kill game in the conservancy.
According to a suspension letter given to the aggrieved community members they had been barred from being members of the conservancy for five years. “This is to confirm that at a meeting of the NNC Board on November 15 2016 it was decided that your membership of the NNC would be suspended for a period of five years due to your actions during October and November 2016 which undermine the objectives, institutions and procedures of the NNC as provided for in the constitution. “Please note that the conservancy and traditional authority formally met with you on October 13 2016 to notify you of the possible consequences should your actions continue and have made several requests that you refrain from your activities. As you chose to ignore these requests the board felt there was no other course of action available to them,” the letter written by Xoa//an/ Ai!ae the chairperson of the Nyae Nyae conservancy reads. When contacted the manager of the conservancy, Cwi Charlie N!aici refused to comment on the matter saying it wasn’t appropriate to discuss the issue over the phone. Stephan also Tuesday refused to comment on the matter before referring Confidente to the conservancy. “Best would be if you contact Nyae- Nyae conservancy office they could provide you with info needed.”
Confidente a fortnight ago reported that community members of NNC in Tsumkwe are up in arms with SMJ Safaris over alleged ill-treatment that includes unfair labour practices, unprocedural game hunting and degrading insults. Confidente also reported that the concerned community members came up with a petition calling for the removal of SMJ Safaris from the conservancy.
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