By Confidente Reporter
COMMUNITY members of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy (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 has learnt.
Some members of the community that mostly comprises of the San have since come up with a petition calling for the removal of SMJ Safaris from the conservancy.
“The four staff at SMJ Safari camp further complain that the operator is using very offensive words towards them and they feel bad about the working conditions that are not good for them as staff, he always insults them,” part of the petition reads.
The community says it decided to take its plight to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism because it is sick and tired of the many problems they are facing at the hunting camp.
“The staff also maintained that the operator called one of the staff ‘NBC’ because he talks about everything going on at the hunting camp (sic). The four staff at the camp –SMJ Safari told us the concerned group reported this to the management committee of NNC but didn’t get any feedback from the four staff told the concerned group that they had given reports about the behaviour and attitude of the operator to the NNC office and did not get any feedback from the NNC office and one of the staff turned up to the conthe topic above mentioned (sic). The servancy office to ask for the feedback and the chairperson and the management told the staff to go away (sic).
“And the staff told the Ministry of Environment that they at SMJ safari camp they are seeing things that the operator is doing is not in the rules of the hunting procedures and the operator is hunting female animals and also hunt in the pens where animals are drinking and they also hunt at night (sic).”
The community members also accused the owner of SMJ Safaris of hunting buffalo as well as allowing his underage son to hunt and insult staff.
“They recently hunted buffalo at the buffalo camp and also the operator hunted Kudu around the camp and at the same time he uses his son who is under age to shoot the kudu and the operator’s son also insults the staff.”
The community further alleges that when staff of SMJ goes on sick and compassionate leave they are not paid their salaries in full.
However, Stephan Jacobs one of the co-owners of SMJ Safaris, in an emailed response said the allegations were dealt with and they were not found guilty of any wrong doing.
“Thank you very much for the e-mail , the area came up for tender recently and was open for any hunting operator in Namibia qualifying for the tender to tender we at SMJ Safaris went through the tender proses and won the area for the next three years. This is a very good area and very sought after in Namibia and therefore some people was not happy with the decision made by the management committee and board off Nyae-Nyae conservancy.
“These allegations were brought forward and they were dealt with by the management committee of Nyae- Nyae as well as the TA of the area and even Napha (Namibian Professional Hunters Association) look at them with a full investigation. SMJ Safaris were found not guilty in any of these allegations. So I would ask you please not to undermine any off these originations as the matter was dealt with by the correct procedures and law of this country,” he said.
According to information on the web Nyae Nyae is the oldest, as well as the second largest conservancy in the country, covering close to 9 000 square kilometres.
It has a population of about 2 300 San.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism through its Public Relations Officer, Romeo Muyunda said it was not aware of the matter .
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015