Residents Call for Sikwane Border Post Upgrading

| April 30, 2015

Residents of Mmathubudukwane and surrounding villages have asked government to consider upgrading Sikwane border post to ease movement of goods.

They told the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu, in a kgotla meeting on Tuesday ( April 28) that upgrading of the border post would reduce distance travelled to Tlokweng border post.

Residents also asked the minister to consider increasing the operating hours of the border post so that they could cross the border without fear of spending the night at no man’s land.

One resident, Mr Letlotlo Medupi, said officers once closed the border leaving Batswana to spend the night at no man’s land after their counterparts in South Africa allowed them to cross over.

He said it was not good for an officer to shut the gate in front of his customers just because time was up adding that there should be time allowance to assist such people.

Minister Batshu aised residents to obey the operating hours and also stated that the immigration department should work together with customs officials hence the need to adhere to stipulated times.

He said for now, some goods were not allowed to cross at Sikwane border post because it didot have the mechanisms and equipment in place to check the goods. Mr Batshu said he was aware that there were plans to upgrade the border post but the project was halted due to shortage of funds.

He promised residents that he would check with the relevant department what the plans were concerning the upgrading of the border post. Minister Batshu aised residents to be law abiding citizens and register births and deaths as well as apply for the national identity card on time.

He also aised those with dual citizenship to renounce when they reach 21 years. The minister expressed worry over under-aged children who get pregnant adding that last year, 810 young girls were impregnated by older men.

Mr Batshu aised the perpetrators that they would face the wrath of the law, adding that Section 107 stipulates that a person who had been found guilty of the offence will face a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Giving welcome remarks, Kgosi Balebetse said due to their proximity to the border many Batswana often cross into South Africa while some are working there. He said they carry out cross border patrol meetings with their South African counter parts once in three months where they discuss issues affecting both countries.

In response, director of Immigration, Mr Mabuse Pule said Tlokweng border post is a commercial border while Sikwane is not. One resident, Ms Margaret Lekgabe had wanted to know the difference between Sikwane and Tlokweng Border posts.

Mr Pule implored residents to communicate well on time when they are stuck in South Africa before the border post closes so that arrangements could be made to accommodate them.

He said public officers stationed at border posts should assist customers with love and care.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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