Sunday, May 16, 2021

Repatriation of 11 illegal Zimbabweans killed lies in limbo

The bodies of 11 Zimbabwean immigrants who died in a horrific car accident that occurred along the Palapye Martin Drift road are expected to be repatriated to their country of origin sometime this week.

However, some relatives of the deceased are reported to have approached the relevant authorities saying due to financial constraints, they were not sure if they will have enough funds to transport the corpses to Zimbabwe for decent burials.

Reports from the Zimbabwean High Commission suggest that the Commission should bear the cost of repatriating the bodies of the Zimbabwean nationals.

It is reported that the relatives of the deceased wanted to meet with the High Commission to map a way forward. But they were informed that it was impossible for the Zimbabwean Government to bear the cost of repatriating the bodies and instead they should find other means of burying their loved ones, even in Botswana if need be.

It is reported that the Zimbabwean authorities have indicated that the deceased have embarrassed the country particularly that the deceased were illegal immigrants and such people are treated as criminals therefore they do not deserve assistance from the government.

Interviewed by The Telegraph this week, officer commanding for district No 16 in Mahalapye senior superintendent, Neo Kedumetse, said all the 11 bodies have been positively identified by the relatives. He said Botswana government has processed the necessary documents so that they can officially be repatriated without any hassle at both border posts between Botswana and Zimbabwe. Kedumetse said the bodies are expected to be repatriated for burial in Zimbabwe sometime this week and all expenses will be incurred by the relatives.

“It it possible that some relatives might have some financical difficulties in transporting the deceased to their country but we have to wait for some time until we are in a better position to know exactly how many would have not been repatriated,” he said.

Kedumetse stated that if the relatives do not manage to repatriate their deceased ones, a decision will be reached between the relatives and the government that they might be buried locally.

“It is usual that if one fails to bury the deceased due to lack of funds or the deceased has not been identified for quite a long time, a particular council is assigned to bury that person or persons even though it is costly to the Government,” he said.

He indicated that seven immigrants who sustained very serious injuries are recuperating from their injuries. “At least two of them have been discharged from hospital but still taking the medication,” he said. ┬á┬á

Kedumetse said although the investigations are ongoing, the most challenging issue is that unfortunately “the driver of the motor vehicle passed on and he was key to the police investigation.”

When asked whether they will criminally press charges against the survivors of the accident after recuperation, he replied that, “that will depend on whether they will be charged or repatriated to Zimbabwe because a number of things have to be discussed.” Contacted for comment the Zimbabwean High Commission spokesperson, Perfect Nyakudya, declined to comment.

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