Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs says it is worried by the continued ill treatment of Zimbabweans by South African and Botswana authorities and is set to engage them over the issue.
The committee says cross border traders are the worst affected and they would engage the neighbouring countries to discuss how the issues of abuse could be tackled. Chairperson of the committee, Cde Kindness Paradza said they are set to engage the Botswana and South African embassies next week.
“There is ill treatment of our people there, in other words, they are harassed especially illegal immigrants, they are beaten up assaulted among other things. We’re going to engage both countries and later the issue would be taken up at ministerial level,” says Cde Paradza.
The Makonde legislator said the meeting would also discuss issues concerning over-stayers and illegal immigrants whom he said are ruthlessly treated by the police and immigration officials in the two countries.
“We also have issues of people who over-stay, they are arrested, beaten up and detained before they are deported. Those are the issues we want to discuss with them. We are doing it this week or next week because as a committee we are concerned about the welfare of our people in these countries because we don’t ill-treat their nationals when they come to Zimbabwe,” said Cde Paradza.
He said they would also engage the Botswana authorities over cattle stolen from Zimbabwe which are shot by officials in that country.
“Also, we have issues of Zimbabwean cattle which are stolen and taken to Botswana, if owners go there to try and recover them they are not allowed to take them back. Those cattle are shot instead. We had cattle that were shot recently, those were stolen cattle,” said Cde Paradza.
In March, Botswana authorities allegedly shot 22 cattle that were reportedly stolen from Bulilima District by thieves from that country as the neighbouring country implemented its shoot to kill policy against local livestock.
The cattle were allegedly stolen from Nswazi area which is located near the border, but the thieves abandoned them after they were intercepted by police from the neighbouring country.
Reports say a delegation comprising of local police officers and officers from the Veterinary Department travelled to the neighbouring country to recover the cattle but Botswana authorities refused to release them.
The cattle were instead, shot in the presence of local police officers.