Zims control rural economy in Botswana – police chief

FRANCISTOWN - Illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe now drive economic activities in Francistown and its environs as they

dominate the work force in both the informal and formal sectors. Some of them are even self-employed in their endeavours to make a living. Even civic leaders do not help the government in trying to get rid of these illegal immigrants. Without them, a lot of mothers would not be able to go to work.

The influx of illegals has been a great concern to authorities. With 28,120 illegal immigrants in a city of about 83,000, the figure is too high to be ignored. It means the illegal aliens arrested last year made up 33.88 percent of the city’s entire population.

Batswana job seekers are known to shun menial jobs such as housemaids and herdsmen, which they claim do not attract satisfactory wages. If illegals are rounded up on any given day, a number of industries would literally close. Local taxis and long distance buses would also be grounded. A number of garages, panel beaters and spray painters, depend mainly on the services of illegals.

Kutlwano Police Station traffic officer, Assistant Superintendent, Ephraim Simasiku said that between 2004-05, his officers had arrested a high number of illegal aliens driving public service vehicles – taxis and buses – without residence and work permits or valid passports.

Despite the fact that the police charge them for breaking the law, people continue hiring the illegals. This is the reality that authorities will have to grapple with as Batswana and other employers at large, continue to harbour illegal immigrants. Some of them are highly qualified academically to be handling some of the challenges they are paid so cheaply for. They find themselves trapped by the need to survive, as their economy back home cannot support their needs. This reality has left a lot of Batswana job seekers especially those who are selective of jobs, grumbling that the practice is denying them opportunities to make a living.

Officer commanding Number 1 police district, Senior Superintendent, Boikhutso Dintwa confirmed to Mmegi that Batswana preferred to hire illegal aliens. “This problem is prevalent. At the factories, lands, cattleposts and even at homes, there are many Zimbabwean illegal immigrants who are employed, simply because they are cheap to hire,” he complained. “When you go to the cattleposts and lands, illegal immigrants literally control everything and they run the economies of those places.” At one of their recent raids, the police were able to arrest about eight illegals at one cattle post and 10 at another. “These figures show that these people are many and are in control of economies in the rural areas.” –Mmegi

Post published in: Economy

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