Hungry San face abuse

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TSHOLOTSHO South MP Zenzo Sibanda has accused poachers of cashing in on the poverty of the San community in the constituency by sending them to poison elephants in the Hwange National Park which has resulted in the death of more than 100 jumbos.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

Speaking in the National Assembly in Harare on Tuesday, Sibanda said the San community was one of the most underprivileged in the country and urged the government to assist it with establishing irrigation schemes.

“Poachers from all over the country take advantage of the San community using them to kill elephants in Tsholotsho because most of them are vulnerable families,” Sibanda said.

“I would like to suggest that hunger alleviation programmes be introduced as a matter of urgency and that this be a cultural activity to reduce the so-called dangerous poaching in Tsholotsho where we see the country losing more than 100 elephants a year.”

Sibanda urged the Judiciary to revise upwards sentences imposed on those who kill elephants.

“Someone who kills any elephant is being sentenced to two years, but a stock thief accused of stealing just one beast is being sentenced to nine years,” Sibanda said.

The legislator said the area receives little rainfall every year and droughts are a common threat while sandy soils and hot weather had adverse effects on agricultural activities.

“Most, if not all members of this constituency are extremely poor. Tsholotsho South is the only place in this country where you can find the San community, among other groups like Kalanga and Ndebele.

“The San community is one of the most underprivileged communities and so the government should introduce an irrigation type of farming in the constituency. If massive cropping is to be undertaken, it has to be done under expansive measures, that is, through irrigation schemes, as I have mentioned before.”

Sibanda bemoaned the poor state of roads linking Tsholotsho and other areas and accused the District Development Fund of underperforming.

“Tsholotsho South constituency has 14 secondary schools and 33 primary schools, but as I have mentioned before, the San community found in wards 7, 8 and 10 cannot afford to pay school fees. Therefore, I urge the government to offer these people free education and build more secondary schools,” Sibanda added.