Sydney Kawadza Assistant News Editor
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board has called on Government to revoke hunting
permits issued to new partners in the Save Valley Conservancy.
The board met recently and recommended that Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi engages his Environment and Natural Resources Management, Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement counterparts with extreme urgency over developments at the Save Valley Conservancy.
The memorandum was signed by ZTA board chairperson Mrs Mara Hativagone and chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke.
“The Government should remove illegal settlers encroaching onto the conservancies.
“The communities should be empowered through the Community Share Ownership Scheme and other empowerment benefits.”
The board met three times before making their recommendations to Minister Mzembi.
“The purpose of the meetings was to identify the problems being faced in the Save conservancies.
“The board noted that the Wildlife Based Land Reform Policy currently in place was developed in the context of the land reform policy programme based on the conviction that wildlife production is a viable land use option if practised with due regard to its conservation and sustainable utilisation,” the board said.
It noted that the policy was expected to ensure conservation and sustainable use of wildlife for present and future generations, facilitate the indigenisation of the sector while ensuring more equitable access by the majority to land and wildlife resources.
The policy, the board noted, was also expected to ensure access to business opportunities that stem from these resources.
It would maintain a proportion of land outside protected areas under wildlife production and encourage resettled farmers on wildlife areas to enter into wildlife production as a land use option.
The board, however, noted major policy implementation challenges including the unilateral identification of partners and recommendation to Government by the office of the Provincial Governor and Resident Minister.
This, the board said, presented its own problems.
“The lease holder applies for hunting quotas to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and at the same time the farmer also applies for the same hunting quotas for the same area.
“This has brought a lot of confusion leading the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to stop issuing hunting permits.”
The board noted that this had resulted in illegal hunting, communities encroaching onto conservancies, the destruction of product and negative publicity on Zimbabwe.
The board also met Save Valley Conservancy chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza and Chiredzi South legislator Ailess Baloyi, who represents the lease holders.
“The board noted that the party chaired by Mr B Nyabadza withdrew legal action which they had taken against Government in April 2012 preferring dialogue.
“The party approached Government with a business model proposal. The business proposal was not responded to by Government.”
The ZTA said the idea of the business proposal was to ensure that each party brought equity while allowing the farmers to choose their preferred partners.
The board said Cde Baloyi indicated that the new partners were aware of the ZTA concerns over tourism business in the conservancy and Zimbabwe’s hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly. “It was their hope that the issues of disagreement with the other party and Government would
be solved soon,” the ZTA board said.
The board also noted that the new farmers were issued 25-year leases but could not hunt because of the associated problems. The Natural Resources and Wildlife Management Ministry and the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority are the custodians of Zimbabwe’s fauna and flora.
The Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, is charged with marketing these natural endowments across the globe.
Minister Mzembi has argued that it would be difficult for his ministry to carry out its mandate when the natural wonders were shrouded in controversy.
Beneficiaries, however, argue that the policy would give them their deserved access to Zimbabwe’s natural resources and associated business opportunities.