By Mafu Sithabile
The Tsholotsho Rural District council is suing Gariya Safaris to recover about $135 000 that the company allegedly failed to pay to council as part of conditions to hunt in the district, as the elephant poaching saga deepens.
Addressing villagers at Pumula Village under, Chief Siphoso, in Tsholotsho on Friday, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo said the Safari operator was banned from operating in Tsholotsho South after failing to remit 60 percent of income it realised from hunting animals that included elephants to the local authority as per Government requirement.
Dr Chombo was part of a delegation of seven Cabinet Ministers that visited the area to get villagers' input on how to stop the poisoning of elephants with Cyanide.
Villagers confessed to working with poaching syndicates to poison the elephants.
They said the break down of the Campfire programme, council and parks services led to some of them resorting to poaching elephants to make ends meet.
"Gariya was killing elephants without remitting money to council. As we speak, Council is suing them for about $135 000 which belongs to you.
"As Government, we are aware of some of the problems that were not highlighted in this meeting. We know that some people still want Gariya to be operating here. We know they were transported to the District Administrator's office in Gariya vehicles, on at least three occasions, to demonstrate against the cancellation of the safari operator's hunting licence. Some of you were used unknowingly in the protests where villagers closed the DA's offices," said Dr Chombo.
He warned the villagers against closing Government offices in protest. More....