Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation (MIAC) Gaeimelwe Goitsemang says Batswana in foreign countries are reaching out for help during the COVID-19 pandemic despite easing of lockdowns in different countries.
Goitsemang explained during a media update on easing of lockdown this week that Batswana outside the country have expressed interest to return to their country.
“Batswana outside are monitored to make sure that they are safe; we are doing that through each embassy and consulate. Batswana outside are putting in requests to be helped and want to return, especially those in South Africa (SA),” he said.
He explained that those that want to return from other countries are those that either lived there, or were visiting at the time of disease’s emergence in Botswana and SA. Amongst those in SA who want to come home have been instructed to put their requests through the embassy for consideration.
“The request will be passed to the government of SA. There is a committee that assesses the request and if successful they are taken back home,” he said.
Goitsemang said so far 70 requests from SA were successful and the applicants managed to come home.
However he indicated that every country has its own laws and that it was not always easy but assured the public that they are in negotiations with respective countries to help those that want to be back home.
On more issues,
“Batswana should learn from this COVID-19 pandemic that travel issuance is important and also registering where you have travelled is also important because in most cases few people register and in times like this, we discover a larger number than what we had expected,” he advised.
In an update by the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender, the PS, Molefi Keaja said they were working together with the MIAC to help people who were coming into the country, especially essential services and those that were returning Batswana.
He explained that so far only 10 borders are open while 20 are still closed which was in response to the containment of the virus.
“This borders are open for the movement of essential goods and the rest are closed to help in the fight of the COVID-19. It’s an inconvenience that Batswana need to understand,” he said.
On the services offered by the ministry, the PS said the ministry was still suspending many services including registration of marriages, change of names and all services related or done in conjunction with churches.