A family of zebras spotted while tracking through the Botswana bush. Picture: SANET OBERHOLZER
A family of zebras spotted while tracking through the Botswana bush. Picture: SANET OBERHOLZER

People in rural areas are devastated by the way the tourism industry has been mismanaged by the government, with total disregard for the long-term damage caused specifically by reintroducing restrictions at a time when many wildlife and related businesses were already struggling to survive.

When the initial restrictions on travel were lifted and the first bit of income started flowing in, the mood changed and suddenly there was hope again — we can survive, we can work through this. More than half of our 104 staff were sitting at home, and there was excitement when we could accommodate some of them back to work. Our other staff were understanding of our predicament, that we could not afford to bring back all of them at once.

Then … closed again. It was like an April Fool’s joke, as if we are a soccer ball that can just be kicked around when you feel like it. Does the government have any idea how much time and money was spent to implement the requirements it laid down to enable us to receive guests? 

I don’t care what political party runs the country, but I do care when incompetent people are appointed and they mismanage our hard-earned tax money. Do all the work and the studies that were done and information supplied to our authorities mean nothing to them? How many businesses can survive this and continue providing employment? 

The government should compensate us for our full loss of income for unnecessarily barring us from doing business.

Karel Landman 
Pongola Game Reserve

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