Botswana ejects 60 000 Zimbos


BOTSWANA has deported 62 117 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe since 2011 amid reports that President Ian Khama has declared 406 foreigners as prohibited immigrants.

Report By Nqaba Matshazi/Nqobile Bhebhe

Labour and Home Affairs minister Edwin Batshu revealed in Parliament on Wednesday that a total of 62 351 foreigners were declared illegal immigrants and deported, with 62 117 being Zimbabweans.

According to the breakdown, Zimbabwe had 62 117 deportees and 72 were from South Africa. Nigeria and Zambia had 20 each, Kenya and India contributed 16 each, with Uganda, Malawi, Namibia and Pakistan accounting for 14 deportees.

Batshu said the immigrants were deported for not having proper travel documents and residence permits.

The minister added that in the last two years, his ministry received 10 948 applications for renewal of work and residence permits and rejected a total of 2 191.

“A breakdown of these indicates that 1 338 were rejected in 2011 and 853 in 2012,” he was quoted saying by Botswana paper, Mmegi.

“The reason for these rejections in terms of the Immigration Act include among others, security consideration, availability of suitable skills, authenticity of information and documents supplied.”

Botswana regularly deports Zimbabweans, but they quickly return to that country in search of employment.

Meanwhile, Botswana authorities yesterday dispatched an ambulance to Plumtree to fetch Alfred Khumalo, a 96-year-old man who is believed to be Zimbabwean, amid indications that he may have been wrongfully deported.

Khumalo was deported on Monday and arrived at Plumtree Hospital on Tuesday. He is still admitted and being treated after suffering a stroke.

However, the ambulance crew failed to return with Khumalo, as there were a number of bureaucratic procedures that had to be followed.
The nonagenarian is now expected back in Botswana between today and next Friday.

Yesterday, his deportation was discussed in Botswana’s Parliament, with Batshu saying he would investigate.

Botswana’s Immigration director is reportedly in Zambia and was not aware of the deportation, officials in Botswana revealed.

It was revealed that despite claims that Khumalo had been deported because he was not a Batswana, the country’s Constitution states that anyone who was resident in that country automatically became a Motswana when the country attained its independence in 1966.

Furthermore, Khumalo reportedly renounced his Zimbabwean citizenship in 2004 and was in the process of formalising his stay in Botswana.

It was revealed that in his efforts to acquire Botswana citizenship, Khumalo had the assistance of a chief, Kgosi Sebina, who signed an affidavit on his behalf.

However, immigration officials delayed with the processing of the application, before eventually deporting him on Monday.

The matter has since been taken up by Ditshwanelo, a human rights organisation seeking Khumalo’s return.

Plumtree Hospital officials revealed that Khumalo had been admitted as Alfred Matenge, a name he was using in Botswana.

“He is weak on the right side of the body, but he is fine,” a nurse, at the hospital, said.