Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Lakhvinder Walia on Wednesday reserved judgment in which Basarwa are challenging the Government’s decision to shut down a borehole in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which was their only main source of water.
The case which appeared to be a question of interpreting and understanding Government policies and Acts and whether the land was state-owned or tribal, saw the English Barrister Gordon Bennett, who was acting under the instruction of local Human Rights Lawyer, Duma Boko and representing Basarwa, sticking to his interpretation of the Water Act. The law states that land occupiers have a right to abstract water from their residing places.
On the other hand independent South African Advocate, Paul Belger who was representing the respondent, maintained that the government acted in its constitutional right as stipulated in the National Settlement Policy of 2004, which states the freezing of human settlement in the CKGR and the stoppage of services.
“The applicants have an inherent right to abstract water from the CKGR as they are lawful occupants of the land. The government is therefore obliged to grant them (applicants) permission to re-commission the old borehole and to even drill a new one. Water is a basic human right which cannot be denied to any human being,’’ he said.
This prompted Justice Wail to ask the Barrister how feasible it was for the applicants to drill a borehole considering their hunting and gathering life, which makes it impossible for them a permanent base.
“For argument sake, does this mean that if they are to be granted the permission we will see more than 20 boreholes in the CKGR considering that they don’t stay in one place,’’ asked Walia to which Barrister answered that as according to the Water Act “any occupier of dry land has a right to sink a borehole.”
He also argued that the Botswana government was violating a United Nations stipulated human rights issue by denying Basarwa access to a basic need, water.
However Belger was of the view that Basarwa had chosen the ‘difficult’ life that they were leading by defying a government policy, which they were not even challenging before courts.
“The issue of re-commissioning a borehole in the CKGR and occupancy by humans is a matter of policy. The government policy is very clear that the CKGR is reserved for flora and fauna which therefore means that no services shall be provided in the reserve,’’ he said adding that the government was providing the services outside the game reserve to which the applicants had resolved to ignore.
The government shut down the main borehole in the CKGR after a court ruling that gave Basarwa the right to go back and resides in their ancestral land leaving them with no reliable source of water.
De Beers sank the borehole in 1986 for prospecting purposes but after abandoning the prospecting it allowed Basarwa to use as a main source of water.
The case which was briefly attended by Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central and Presidential Candidate for Botswana Congress Party, Dumelang Saleshando did not attract much attention while the leader of the First People Kalahari, Roy Sesana also decided to do away with his traditional trademark of the horns in his head.

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
18 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I guess the Basarwa should continue to use the very source their ancetral used to obtain water in CKGR as source of life. No one can live without water


Govermnt offered to give them modern life development and services bt they dissented. Now why expact govermnt provide them with services bcoz they made it clear the wanted to live their ancestral life. I used to sympathise with Basarwa until I mistakenly bumbed into Roy Sesana in Paris 2008.Basarwa just dnt know wat ths guy is all about.He thinks he is clever bt ths ppl r just using him to score personal goals…IGNORANCE REALLY HURTS


I have always held 2 views about this. If the government foresee any development taking place in CKGR, like tourism development in terms of building hotels, mining, then basarwa should be allowed back with all necessary human need like water, health services,…. If that place is purely a game reserve which government want to preserve with limited human life, they should continue to engage basarwa and ultimately force their hand because in Botswana any person can be relocated if he occupies a land where development is to take place for the benefit of majority, i guess basarwa are on a… Read more »


Basarwa ba tsenya dingalo waitse,

Chris M

As far as I know the majority of Basarwa want to work with the government and get their lives improved! Only Roy Sesana and co, less than 1% of Basarwa population, who work with the likes of Survival International, are making it all difficult! When the likes of Survival International have destroyed our economy and started lasting hatred here, Roy will learn that he has been an absolute fool! That is the bottomline! As faydo says, you can bump on Roy in the most unlikely places in the world, when he is holding his people to ransom at home and… Read more »


ppl are 4geting dat Basarwa are th original inhabitants of Botswana and th vry same ppl hu r chasing dem away frm CKGR 2day r th vry same ppl hu caused dem 2 run away & seek refuge in areas like CKGR whn such pple (their tribes) were migrating frm othr parts of Africa. this makes Basarwa more superior in Botswana if at al thr was 2 b any rating, hence make them deserve more respect and reverence than they r getting. what th govrnmnt is doing 2 dem is no different frm what th europeans did 2 Africans during… Read more »

D.G.K oa Morata-Khama

Where did they draw water before 1986? I don’t think 1986 le ene o ka bidiwa goo-lowe. So ka ga ba bate thuso ya puso, if that sediba e le sa puso, ba batelang go nwa mo go sone. Waitse batho ba ke bone ba dielang Khama nako ya go thabolola lehatshe ba. Ha o utwa are ba ka rekisa lehatshe o raya jaana. So wena Radinakana le group ya gago, phuthanang le ye BMD. Batho ba ba khathanong le tswelelopele ya lehatshe ba gone koo.


ga ke tlhaloganye lapisa waitse.enuf about them le Bakgatla, ba nna ba dira di headline tsa dipampiri.


Wena Ref why do u say basarwa ba lapisa enuf abt them le Bakgatla why dont u say Bogosi ba bakgatla?

Name (required)

Ke tsaya gore ka ngwao ya sesarwa gatwe they wil move from one place 2 another ba batla dijo le metse, fine jaanong fa ba batla ditlhabololo a ba dilatele. What wil b next ba tloga bare ba batla sekontere.


batsadi aba bone phatlha ba e tsene ditlamelo di kgobokanngwa golo gole gongwe a badi latele jaaka mang le mang,humans will keep evolving le bone hela jalo.change…change people


We speak because of what we know. But unfortunately those who know choose to remain silent. We hold these truths to be self-evident.


Go nna mosarwa ke mathata. ba fiwa sengwe le sengwe: dipodi , dikgomo , bana ba bone ba rekelwa uniform. Ba bolaya diphologolo tsa naga ka go kgona le gorata mme ha ba kgotsofale. ka moso ha go setse go senyegile makgabisa naga a sule go tlaabo gotwe goromente. ckgr is there for the benefit of the whole nation through tourism, and not only for basarwa. Ba setse ba batla go rapelwa fela jaanang.


ga ke tlhaloganye gore batswana ke batho ba ba ntseng jang waitse, ekare ke ka bo ke ise ke tsholelwe mo botswana or at least ko china, shame, how can a human being comment like you people, or may be u dont know much about issues tsa ckgr, stop commenting fela ka gore le a batla, please talk some sense or just cut if off.

everytime le a re kgopisa waitse. its like le tsa gore ga itse go dirisa dicomputers.


I regard Roy sesana as a true leader and a human rights activist.Basarwa are people and entitled to exercise rights and duties.they are busy fightin for their democracy nd justice,whereas certain stupid individuals are making noise.I will be happy to see Basarwa declaring Botswana constitution uncostitutional in a competent court.Government which violates human rights is non-recognised in internatinal plane.U better speak sense than make a hell noise.VIVA Basarwa Viva!!!


it pisses me off the way survival international,wateva u call it, is using our own people to tarnish our beautiful name,those guys are using roy to make his people believe our gvt is their enemy,kana bone they dnt get it,poor khoesan….stampore ga a rate.


Sesana ebile o latlhile naka tsa phuduhudu,jaanong ke sekano sa BMD


The San were the first known inhabitants of the Kalahari. Through a series of Government interventions (for the greater good of the pockets of the commercially propped up politicians), the original land of the San/Basarwa has been reduced to staying in a game reserve.
It is disgusting that the “government” of Botswana allow themselves to be manipulated by their commercial masters to act in bad faith to the oldest group of their citizens.

Perhaps the Term “Government of Botswana” should be changed to “The well paid puppets of diamond diggers”

Geez…denying people to use a waterhole that is there. …. disgusting