Botswana minister says Zimbabweans make 98% of illegal immigrants; ‘irregular migrants involved in crimes such as murder’

Botswana minister says Zimbabweans make 98% of illegal immigrants; ‘irregular migrants involved in crimes such as murder’

By Agencies

Zimbabweans account for 98% of all the irregular migrants in Botswana, the country’s labour and home affairs minister told Parliament this week.

The data was revealed at a time Harare and Gaborone are considering the use of National Identity cards (Omang) for citizens to travel between the two countries.

Responding to a question in Parliament this week, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Anna Mokgethi said from 2021 to 2023, out of a total of 13,489 irregular migrants, a total of 13,189 were Zimbabwean nationals.

She admitted that she was aware of the influx of irregular migrants more especially Zimbabwe citizens.

Mokgethi further indicated that the number of immigrants continue Sto grow every year, with 2023 recording the highest.

“It is also evident that the numbers increase on an annual basis as there were 3,278 irregular migrants in 2021. In 2022 there were 4,751 while there were 5, 160 in 2023,” Mokgethi revealed.

Truck transporting Zimbabwean migrants

Asked if she is aware that the illegal immigrants are also part of the crime syndicates that in the country, the minister stated that she is very much aware, but she does not have the figures of the crimes committed by such syndicates.

“I am also aware that some of the irregular migrants are involved in crimes such as murder, rape and robbery,” she said.

“With regards to the numbers and types of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, my ministry with the assistance of the BPS was still segregating information.

“Unfortunately, they could not do so on time for this answer.”

Providing an update on the Omang talks between the two nations, Mokgethi said there is no agreement that has been reached.

“Government is still looking into the feasibility of operationalisation of this initiative and this includes looking into associated processes and requirements for international travel with the International Civil Aviation (ICAO) standards,” Mokgethi highlighted.

The minister was responding to questions by Polson Majaga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nata-Gweta.

He had asked, among other things, about the influx of illegal immigrants in Botswana and requested an update about negotiations between Botswana and Zimbabwe regarding the use of identity cards at the borders.