Members of the Save Valley Conservancy have recently become aware of statements that have been made by members of the press with regards to the application of the indigenisation process within the conservancy. Accordingly the Save Valley Conservancy would like to offer the following statement in order to clarify some erroneous perceptions:
The Save Valley Conservancy was formed 11 years after independence in 1991 with the approval of the Zimbabwe Government, National Parks, assisted by WWF and Beit Trust. Opportunities to invest were open to all and in fact the Zimbabwean government took the opportunity through Arda.
An IFC Loan, approved and supported by Government, was negotiated in order to purchase wildlife as a severe drought meant that there were no cattle or animals left in the area. It is only through the huge investment made possible by this loan that there is any wildlife in the Save Valley Conservancy today.
Most importantly: The Save Valley Conservancy and its members are not now and have never been opposed to a viable indigenisation plan and nor has there been a lack of engagement on their part.
The Save Valley Conservancy has long held the view that indigenisation should take the form of community involvement and benefit and to this end formed and finalised the Save Valley Conservancy Community Trust, incorporating five neighbouring Rural District Councils. This was achieved between 1996 and 1998; pre-dating the current indigenisation act by some years.
More recently the Save Valley Conservancy has engaged with the Ministry of Environment and the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority over a period of three years between 2006 and 2009 with plans to bring increased benefit to neighbouring communities as well as to increase indigenous shareholding in the Save Valley Conservancy. Requested documentation has been supplied by the Conservancy to the Ministry on many occasions without any formal or directional feedback being supplied by either Ministry of Environment or National Parks.
At the beginning of 2011 members of the Conservancy agreed to consider additional indigenisation possibilities through investment. A steering committee comprised of members of would be investors and members of the Save Valley Conservancy was formed to guide the legal, accounting and business processes that would be necessary to ensure smooth transactions. This process ran aground in July 2011 when would be partners stated they had no intention of investing but wanted “cash on the table”.
It is the now the unfortunate position that hunting safaris throughout the Conservancy have been cancelled by the authorities, depriving members of the Save Valley Conservancy of vital income. More seriously members have since become aware that hunting quotas for properties in the Conservancy have since been issued to the would be partners from Masvingo who were mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Despite the current impasse and the graveness of the situation the Save Valley Conservancy and its members remain committed to proactively seeking realistic and viable solutions to the situation. We hasten to offer assurances that at this time it is quite safe to visit the Conservancy and urge non hunting clients not to cancel their trips. We remain confident that the laws of Zimbabwe will be respected and maintained and thank you all for your concern during this time.