RAMOKGWEBANA: The Dikgosi from villages situated along the Botswana and Zimbabwe border have resolved to address the alarming cross-border crimes affecting their communities.
Jackalas No 1 village chief, Tapson Jackalas disclosed this when giving welcome remarks during a bio-security border campaign held in Ramokgwebana last Thursday.
He revealed that villagers located along the border are living in terror of cross-border criminals who steal their properties and make off with it to Zimbabwe.
“Following the alarming cross-border crime as Dikgosi here, we have resolved to meet and discuss ways of addressing this matter with the chiefs from the Zimbabwe side,” said Jackalas.
Jackalas said that they contacted their Zimbabwean counterparts recently, who are also willing to address the matter affecting villages along the border.
“We have resolved to meet with our counterparts from Zimbabwe and discuss this matter and then come up with solutions to solve this problem once and for all because it is a threat to the livelihood of citizens of both our countries,” said Jackalas.
Speaking to The Monitor on the sidelines of the campaign, Jackalas said the most affected villages are Ramokgwebana, Tshesebe, Butale, Siviya, Jackalas No.1, and Matsiloje, to name but a few.
He added that the villages are first stop spots that people from Zimbabwe pass through on entering Botswana.
He said that Zimbabweans illegally cross the border into Botswana by destroying the fence then steal people’s properties before crossing back into Zimbabwe.
“Incidents of house-breaking, burglary and stocktheft are high along the border. The thieves mostly steal electronic gadgets like televisions, radios, computers, clothes just to mention but a few,” he said.
Jackalas said that the thieves are dangerous to people’s lives because when they attack, at times they kill owners who resist giving them their property. “Following the attacks, some people were left nursing permanent injuries. Last year, a citizen at Moroka was killed by thieves suspected to be from Zimbabwe after he resisted giving them his properties,” said Jackalas.
He berated the police’s slow response to reports, saying it contributed to the high rates of criminal activities along the border. He conceded that the police blamed shortage of transport for not responding to reports on time.
Jackalas said most of the crime occurs at Ramokgwebana border and he proposed that the situation could be better addressed if there was a police station there as opposed to the current situation whereby officers on trips police the village.
He said the situation has now forced some residents to take the law into their own hands by illegally crossing the border in pursuit of thieves who have stolen their goods.
The chief said that even the hope of addressing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) would be a fallacy because thieves destroy the fence leaving it open for livestock to cross with ease.
“I call for enhanced collaboration between the Botswana Police Service and their Zimbabwe counterpart,” he said.
Ramokgwebana councillor, Alfred Makgetho shared the same sentiments as Jackalas that villagers spend sleepless nights due to illegal immigrants who steal their property.
Makgetho said the campaign at the border came at the right time and hoped that it will also enlighten Zimbabweans about cross-border crime.