Jeff Barbee and Mira Dutschke in Nata, Botswana, David Smith in Johannesburg
theguardian.com, Monday 18 November 2013
Botswana has been accused of sacrificing the Kalahari, one of the world's most precious wildlife reserves, to commercial fracking while ignoring the concerns of environmentalists and communities who could lose access to scarce water.
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, for the production of gas is the subject of fierce debate in America, Britain, South Africa and countries around the world, with green activists warning that it degrades land and pollutes air and water.
Yet for more than a decade, Botswana, lauded as one of Africa's most stable democracies, has been quietly granting lucrative licences to international companies to carry out fracking in the fragile Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
Some observers believe this is the most likely reason for President Ian Khama's government fighting court battles to prevent the Kalahari Bushmen, also known as the San, from returning to their ancestral land. The government denies this and says the prospecting under way should not be defined as fracking.