Government yesterday started indigenising conservancies by issuing hunting permits to 25 black farmers allocated lots at the wildlife-rich Save Valley Conservancy in the Lowveld. The issuing of the hunting permits to black farmers follows an almost eight-year stalemate between Government and
white conservancy operators.
The operators were refusing to co-exist with the new farmers under the Government’s wildlife-based land reform policy.
Government in 2004 issued 25-year leases to black farmers to actively participate in the lucrative wildlife sector.
National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director general Mr Vitalis Chadenga issued the hunting permits to the black farmers at Benjamin Burombo Government Complex in Masvingo and said more permits would be issued next week.
Mr Chadenga said the black farmers who were issued with hunting permits were allocated 25-year land leases in conservancies throughout Masvingo province.
“When the land reform programme started, the Government did not focus much on the wildlife sector because it is not only sensitive, but also requires orderly transfer,” he said.
“But the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, with the concurrence of Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema has, after due consideration of all representations made to it by all stakeholders in the Wild Life-Based Land Reform exercise made the decision to grant with immediate effect annual hunting permits and quotas to beneficiaries who are in possession of 25 year leases.”
Mr Chadenga told the new black farmers that his organisation expected orderly hunting to take place in the conservancies.
“The authority (National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority) is convinced that orderly hunting will ensue henceforth,” he said.
“And that the right holders will assist the authority with accountability so as to ensure sustainable hunting, security to tourists and to complement the authority’s robust conservation efforts.”
Mr Chadenga said measures were underway to bring to book those in the wildlife sector hunting without permits.
He expressed concern over an upsurge in poaching activities, especially the black rhino in areas where old and new stakeholders were in conflict over hunting rights.
Mr Chadenga said the granting of hunting permits to black farmers was expected to engender orderliness in the wildlife hunting sector.
Speaking at the same function, Masvingo governor and resident minister Titus Maluleke said the province had waited for too long for black farmers to get hunting permits.
He said the development was a landmark and would further consolidate the land reform and indigenisation programme.
Among the black farmers who received hunting permits in an area straddling nearly 200 000 hectares at Save Valley Conservancy was Governor Maluleke, former Gutu South legislator Cde Shuvai Mahofa, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister and Masvingo North legislator Dr Stan Mudenge.