BOTSWANA home affairs minister Edwin Batshu has rejected requests by farmers there to be allowed to hire ‘cheap’ Zimbabweans as the Batswana were shunning jobs in that sector.
Some farmers pleaded with Batshu during a Kgotla meeting in Mmadinare recently that they be allowed to employ Zimbabwean nationals because they are very effective while Batswana do not want to work for locals.
“Please allow us to hire foreigners temporarily so that they help us in the farms because locals are failing,” said one resident.
The employment of immigrants without work permits is an offence punishable by the law but temporary permits can be issued for foreigners to work in the country.
The Botswana government, however, has reserved farm jobs for locals and does not issue permits to foreigners in that sector.
Batshu said there was no question of relaxing the rules for Mmadinare villagers.
“What will happen if the Zimbabwe economy improves at the time when Batswana are relying on their cheap labour in their farms,” he said.
He added, “Batswana are very choosy and this has seriously delayed their progress in life. Farm owners must also pay farm workers well so that they can attract Batswana to work in their farms. The employer and employee need each other.”
Some residents told Batshu that Batswana want cheap Zimbabwean labour because they could not cheat locals.