- To create business opportunities by fencing dams
- Minister says this will create 1 737 permanent jobs
Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has launched a new government initiative of dams tourism at the Shashe dam near Mandunayne village last weekend.
Khama said under the initiative, government is going to fence three dams being Shashe, Thune and Letsibogo. He noted that once the dams are fenced, businesses such lodges, hotels, camp sites and restaurants will set up to make dams tourism destinations. “The decision to turn dams into tourism hubs is to ensure that Batswana play a role in the tourism sector which is a very lucrative sector,” Khama said. He noted that the idea came from his elder brother, President Ian Khama who realized that dam tourism can create revenue for both government and Batswana.
Khama admitted that by fencing the dams, cattle owners are going to suffer because they will not have places to water their cattle. He noted that such a decision has been taken to ensure that the dams are kept clean. He noted that the development of the three dams will create 1 737 permanent jobs for Batswana adding that Shashe dam will create 636 jobs. According to Khama they have already consulted LEA so that young and upcoming Batswana entrepreneurs can be trained on how to operate successful businesses at the dams.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng said making Shashe dam a tourism hub is a viable project as the dam is closer to the A1 road which links Gaborone and Francistown. “The dam’s proximity to the city of Francistown, which has an international airport, is an added advantage as tourists can visit the dam in large numbers using the airport,” he said. Olopeng, who is also Tonota MP, noted that Shashe dam has been busy during holidays as many Batswana visit it to admire the natural beauty and have fun without being charged.
Kgosi Joshua Joel of Mandunyane village made a desperate plea to government to allocate the Mandunyane Development Trust a piece of land along Shashe dam to generate income. “Our Trust is still new and does not have the financial muscle to compete with well-established entities therefore we want to have a piece of land here which can generate income for us”, he said. Joel noted that the trust can generate income by charging people who will be visiting the dam for leisure. He noted that if they are given a piece of land they will be able to create permanent jobs for Mandunyane residents.