Saturday, September 23, 2023

MP wants prison with hard labour for Zim boarder jumpers

The Francistown West MP has called for criminal sanctions against Zimbabwean illegal immigrants as a deterrent.

Tshelang Masisi said this in Parliament on Monday while contributing to a second reading of the Immigration Bill, which seeks to merge two Acts: the Employment of Non-Citizens Act and Immigration Act.

He said that, as it stands, government is spending over P2 million every month to repatriate Zimbabweans from Botswana back to their motherland.

“We are spending a lot of money to repatriate them back home,” he told Parliament. He stated that it would be better if those who entered Botswana illegally or overstayed were sentenced to prison with hard labour.

He said this could deter many from entering Botswana illegally and could save government a lot of money.

Masisi also called for ‘hearings’ before government declares someone a prohibited immigrant.
He argued that the current arrangement where non citizens were declared illegal immigrants without any investigations or some form of hearing is worrying.

“Before expelling someone they should be given a hearing,” he argued. He added that it is possible that out of spite someone could be reported to authorities to trigger an expulsion from the country.
He said that expelling foreigners without giving them a hearing had a potential to tarnish the country’s good name and, in the process, drive away investors.

He complained that Botswana had expelled many people without giving them a hearing.
Masisi stated foreigners of Asian extraction normally enrich themselves by taking advantage of citizenship status if they are awarded one.

He said that many had amassed wealth through government policies and programmes before fleeing back to their countries of origin.

“We have to guard jealously our policies and programmes and they should be reserved for the indigenous Batswana,” he stated.

He advised that government should rope in the experience of former immigration officers to serve in the board that issues permits.

The bill also receives a thumbs up from Minister Phandu Skelemani ,Minister Shaw Kgathi,Pelonomi Venson Moitoi and MPs Wynter Mmolotsi, Guma Moyo and Fidelis Molao, to name a few.

Speaking in support of the bill, Skelemani said that it was clear that the country has not been paying close attention to localization.

Skelemani said foreigners provide a lot of technical manpower in Botswana.

He stressed that employers should provide arrangements to ensure that foreigners transfer skills to locals.

Also sharing Skelemani’s sentiments, Mmolotsi complained that furniture shops, such as Ellerines, have never had a resident director.

He also cited Panda, a brick making company which he said did not have a local as a manager.
He suggested that foreigners who possess some expertise in some area that could be of benefit to Botswana be given citizenship status.

On the other hand, Kgathi advocated for localization to target decision making positions.

He also stated that residence permit for those who commit criminal offences should be revoked because such individuals are obviously not interested in staying in Botswana.

On the other hand, Education Minister Palenomi Venson-Moitoi called for Unions’ participation in localisation of Jobs. She also said that she was concerned about the rising number of churches and foreign traditional healers who are given permits to set up in Botswana.

Venson-Moitoi said that the churches were enriching themselves under the guise of spreading the word of God. She said the situation demanded close inspection.

Venson-Moitoi also said that the traditional healers, mostly of Malawian origin, were making Batswana to close their cultural identity.


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