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Mnangagwa ally want a review of the skewed Save Valley ownership structure

by Staff reporter
15 Feb 2018 at 05:49hrs | Views
The provincial leadership here has expressed concern over the small number of indigenous players operating in the wildlife-rich Save Valley Conservancy.

This comes against the backdrop of revelations that out of 27 properties within the conservancy, only two were indigenous-owned, with the rest under the control of foreign operators.

Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Josaya Hungwe on Tuesday appealed to Government to address the skewed ownership structure at the conservancy.

He said increased presence of indigenous players would solve some of the nagging challenges that were affecting operations at Save Valley.

"There is urgent need to look into the ownership structure at all properties in the Save Valley conservancy because as the provincial leadership we are not happy at all that 25 properties at the conservancy are in the hands of foreigners and only two are under the ownership of indigenous players," said Minister Hungwe.

"That anomaly is not sustainable and must be addressed. Save Valley Conservancy is very strategic to the economy of Masvingo province and we want more black players there, more indigenous black players should also be empowered by being incorporated in the lucrative wildlife conservancy sector through partnerships with whites who are there."

Minister Hungwe said there was need for a fact-finding mission at Save Valley to establish some of the challenges affecting the smooth running of operations at the conservancy.

He said Government was worried about the increasing cases of human/wildlife conflicts at the wildlife-rich conservancy.

"We need to have a lasting solution to problems at Save Valley and these solutions will be found if concerns of communities around the conservancy are also taken into account," said Minister Hungwe.

Communities in areas such as Bikita, Zaka, Chipinge and Chiredzi, that border the vast Save Valley, have borne the brunt of stray wild animals and predators that destroy their crops and property every year and in some extreme situations cause loss of human life.

Large parts of the perimeter fence around the conservancy was vandalised by poachers, a development that resulted in wild animals straying into areas where people live.

A few years ago, several Zanu-PF bigwigs in Masvingo were issued with 25-year leases to run conservancy operations in Save Valley under the wildlife-based land reform programme, sparking an outcry.

The leases were subsequently withdrawn after Government noted that some of the beneficiaries at the conservancy were multiple farm owners who had already benefited under the land reform programme.

Source - the herald