Govít misfires on Zim situation

The government has closed down an envisaged five hectars illegal migrants facility behind Sebele Mall that was allocated to Botswana Prisons Service, following the government’s miscalculations that Botswana will continue to recieve multitudes of illegal migrants from Zimbabwe owing to the country’s past political and economic situation.

Botswana had a keen interest in the Zimbabwean situation after the country recorded a record-breaking number of migrants in the 2008 disputed elections.

Mmegi investigations have revealed that the said facility behind Sebele Mall which has been lying idle for many years has now been closed down while the government is still pondering what it can now be used for, following a miscalculation on the end result of the Zimbabwean elections which SADC Observer Mission declared ‘free and credible.’

After learning of the issue, Mmegi went to the said facility only to learn that the expensive high fence has been uprooted and caravans moved away.

Botswana Prisons Services which was allocated the plot has decided to retreat and surrender it to the Ministry of Lands and Housing. They have taken the fence and caravans to use them at one of their facilities in Gaborone.

The Commissioner of Prisons Service, Silas Motlalekgosi, told Mmegi that he returned the land to the Ministry because the place was not suitable for a prisons related facility.

“I found the place fenced when I joined Prisons so I cannot account or comment on anything before that,” he said, adding that he has returned the land to the Ministry of Lands and Housing.

The Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele confirmed that the idle plot was given to Botswana Prisons Service through the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs but has since been reallocated to Botswana Police service (BPS) to construct a police station. Sebele is currently serviced by Sir Seretse Khama Police Station.

When asked on the initial purpose of the land, Maele said he understands that “the facility was to be a temporary home for illegal imigrants.”

 Botswana has had a headache over the Zimabbwean situation which forced the country to overstretch its facilities and resources because illegal immigrants, once apprehended, have to be placed in temporary shelters like detention centres and prisons.

It is understood that a decision was taken to establish a detention centre to reduce the number of Zimbbweans roaming the streets and engaging in criminal acts.

This decision was also taken after it was realised that the deportees who cost the government money always quickly find their way back through illegal entry points in a short space of time.

Growing unemployment problems in Botswana have increased the level of pressure on the government to spare the piece jobs for citizens. The multi-skilled Zimbabweans are generally cheaper and quicker and normally give locals tough competition.

The government no longer grants refugee status to Zimbabwean asylum seekers because the political situation in Zimbabwe has improved according to the government. 

Despite this, Zimbabweans continue to live amongst the locals as friends, brothers and sisters.

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