The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Prisca Mupfumira said that the government will forcibly drive out all illegal settlers around the Save Conservancy in Masvingo province.
About 15 thousand families are said to have illegally settled close to the sanctuary resulting in increased cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Speaking on Thursday ahead of the Masvingo Environment and Tourism Indaba, Mupfumira said:
We have an ongoing exercise which we are undertaking in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement of the removal of illegal settlers mainly in wildlife sanctuaries.
Here in Chiredzi, we have issues at Save Valley Conservancy and some parts of Gonarezhou National Park.
… We want to arrest all those who are fuelling this. We want to punish all those who are working against the environment. This disorder must be sorted in no time, we want the conservancy to be fenced so that we address the rising cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Illegal settlers reportedly occupied properties in the Save Conservancy such as Masapasi, Angers and Chegwite, which all fall under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA).