Saturday, January 23, 2021

Lack of funds impedes repatriation of illegal immigrants

FRANCISTOWN: The Department of Immigration in Francistown is currently facing a serious challenge to repatriate illegal immigrants due to lack of funds.

The revelation was made by Francistown Mayor Godisang Radisigo during a full council meeting on Monday. He said at the moment the Francistown Centre of Illegal Immigrants has a total of 82 illegal immigrants (52 males, 14 females and 9 minors)

“Efforts are being made to repatriate illegal immigrants to their countries of origin amidst a serious transport challenge caused by shortage of funds to maintain repatriation trucks,” he said.

He however said the Police Services are offering assistance in that regard whilst resources are being mobilized. Radisigo also said that the Immigration Department is also challenged with a number of uncollected passports totaling 122 even though all efforts are being made to request the applicants to collect passports. He said it is pleasing to note that the suspension of VISA applications has since been lifted

“In addition, the Ramokgwebana border and Philip Matante International Airport will re-open on the 1st December 2020. However, travelers will be expected to be vigilant and follow requisite health protocols as follows; 72 Hour negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, Mandatory completion of Covid-19 self-declaration form, Mandatory review including temperature and daily check in with a District Health Management officer,” he explained.

The mayor said it is worth noting that a traveler who does not meet the requirements will be expected to test immediately upon arrival and quarantine in a supervised area at a cost.

Meanwhile Radisigo expressed worry over the increase of child abuse cases especially defilement in the second city. He said so far there have been 47 cases of indecent assault on children below the age of 18 since the measure to restrict people movement was introduced. He also said there is a concern that most of the cases are not reported for various reasons and the numbers could be higher. He said it is important for them as the leaders to urge people to report cases to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action can be taken against perpetrators.

“The act is an abomination which usually leaves the victims with psychosocial scars that will be difficult to erase in the future,” he said.

The Mayor also expressed concern over Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases in Francistown. He revealed that the statistics show that from January to the 24th of September 2020, various service providers had registered a high number of cases. He said it was worrying to note that a total of 127 cases of rape, 155 cases of murder and 216 cases of physical abuse were registered and processed at Police, Magistrate and various non-governmental organizations serving the second city.

“These are a direct result of undesirable social behaviours that must be targeted for practical solutions and calls for the resuscitation of the city’s Gender Committee that will manage all responses and report regularly to Urban Development Committee,” he said

Radisigo told the full council meeting that Botswana Police as a stakeholder in the fight against gender-based violence has since introduced a toll-free number for gender-based violence reports and will also establish a Gender and Child Protection Unit by April 2021. He also said in an endeavour to expedite the disposal of gender based and related cases, the government has set up a Special Court dedicated to GBV cases. He said that these courts will start to operate at all Chief Magistrate stations with effect from 1st December 2020.

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