Masisi wants action on illegal immigrants

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Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mokgweetsi Masisi has called on the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs to beef up security at entry points of the country to curb illegal immigrants who are found at every shopping mall selling pirate CDs and DVDs.

He said that they enter the country as visitors and end up engaging in illegal trade of the products they would not have declared at the border. He said immigration officers and police seem not to be bothered by this development as they see these illegal traders everyday but do nothing about them.

Masisi was debating the budget allocation for the ministry on Tuesday and he accused the illegal traders, mostly from Zimbabwe, of infringing on the Intellectual Property Law of Botswana with impunity, while producers of that work suffer great losses.

He alleged that the same Zimbabweans are almost everywhere in Southern African countries selling fake CDs and DVDs of Botswana artists.

The minister turned to the Industrial Court saying some employers are taking advantage of the slow progress at which cases are disposed of. He cited a case involving employees of Oasis Motel in Tlokweng, who have been complaining about unfair treatment but but their case has been in court for ages.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando called on Government to constantly review the minimum wage to align it with the cost of living so that people can afford basic needs such as food, clothing and probably housing. He said that government should have been the first in the region and probably in the world to come up with a policy or legislation of HIV and Workplace.

Earlier in the week, several MPs complained about corrupt labour officers who receive bribes from employers and continue abusing their employees. In some instances, said Mogoditshane MP Patrick Masimolole, employees are locked overnight in factories and he wondered what would happen if there was a fire outbreak. He said that in some factories employees are not allowed to use the toilets during working hours. He urged the minister to erect a fence along the Botswana/Zimbabwe borderline with the 2009/10 remaining funds that he intends to return to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. 

He said Zimbabweans cannot be trusted even after a recent meeting with Botswana government officials where they promised to cooperate with the country.

Recently three Botswana Wildlife officers were arrested in Zimbabwe and imprisoned for three weeks for entering the country illegally.

They accidentally crossed into the country where there is no border fence while they were tracking lions that were terrorising residents of Lesoma village in Kazungula area.

The minister Peter Siele responded that something was being done about corrupt labour officers and some have already been suspended and committees set up to monitor what officers do. 

He said that his ministry has enhanced labour inspection. He added that HIV policy and the work place is on the cards but he could not state the time frame. He was silent on the erection of a border fence.

Editor's Comment
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