By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE government of Botswana has in recent days deported 281 Zimbabweans illegally staying in the neighbouring country as part of its measures to fight the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The 281 returnees are now quarantined at Plumtree High School as a measure by the Zimbabwean government to combat the possible spread of the virus within the country.
All the returnees were tested for COVID-19 but no one was found positive although they have been put in isolation for 14 days as precautionary measures.
However, information gathered shows that the deported citizens did come into contact with members of the Plumtree community before being tested. Botswana has recorded six COVID-19 cases including one death.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com in Plumtree, MP for Bulilima West constituency, Dingumuzi Phuti said the government, through the Ministry of Social Welfare had mobilised most requirements to cater for the returnees’ needs.
“These include blankets, food, toiletries and counselling. As of Tuesday, the number of deportees had leapt to 281. Most of these people are locals from Bulilima and Mangwe and are without passports whilst others are from all over the county,” said Phuti.
“Renovations of the age-giving-in Plumtree High School hostels and ablution system by the Ministry of Public Works are underway.”
However, the Zanu PF MP said he was not happy that tender to supply food to the returnees was not given to the local business people.
“On the procurement of bread, eggs and other requirements, the supply tender has been given to Bakers Inn for bread and TM for eggs and other foodstuffs. I have opposed that and suggested that such tenders be given to local retailers whom we know are also equal to the task. This has been agreed to and The Greens, Golden Harmony and Plumtree Bakeries will provide the needed basic requirements,” said Phuti.