Sukulwenkosi Dube, Plumtree Correspondent
ABOUT 502 Zimbabweans are being held in Botswana prisons for committing various crimes in the neighbouring country compared to only four Botswana nationals held in local prisons.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for Livestock, Paddy Zhanda, told villagers in Nxele area, Mangwe District on Thursday that Botswana had complained to the government over Zimbabweans entering the neighbouring country illegally to commit crimes.
Zhanda, who is visiting villages situated along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border ahead of the June 1 deadline that will see the neighbouring country shooting stray cattle that enter that country, said a perimeter fence erected between the two countries had been vandalised by smugglers and other criminals who wanted to illegally enter Botswana.
“As I was inspecting what is supposed to be the perimeter fence, I was shocked by the number of holes I saw. These openings are created by criminals who use them as entry and exit points when committing crimes,” he said.
“We have 502 Zimbabweans who are currently being held in Botswana prisons and yet we only have four Botswana nationals who are being held in our cells. There is a need for us to be disciplined as a nation and respect our neighbour’s laws as we also expect them to observe ours.”
Zhanda said erecting a perimeter fence was not the solution but stabilising the country’s economy would enable people to sustain their families.
Recently, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Obedingwa Mguni, who is also Mangwe MP, said a number of youths living in communities close to the border were dropping out of school and fleeing to the neighbouring country without travelling documents.
He said after failing to secure employment, some of them turned to crime.