Sunday Standard

Guma grills Minister Batshu over North east elephants’ terror

06 Nov 2017

Tati East Legislator, Samson Moyo Guma has slammed the government for dragging its feet in addressing the terror caused by elephants in his constituency.  Responding to a presentation made by the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu last week in Matsiloje, Moyo said elephants continue to terrorize residents and destroy the border fence which often leads to an influx of illegal immigrants in to the country. Minister Batshu was in Matsiloje to address residents on the mandate of his ministry and to solicit feedback on the level of service delivery in the ministry. In his presentation, Batshu expressed concern over the growing number of Matsiloje residents who harbour and employ illegal immigrants. He said more often these illegal immigrants commit crimes in the country large and escape to their home countries. He warned that residents who harbour illegal immigrants will face the wrath of the law. He also said it was important for residents to abide by the law.

Responding to the Minister’s presentation, Moyo said failure to manage the border fence in Matsiloje contributed factor to the growing number of illegal immigrants. Guma further expressed concern over elephants which destroy the fence and terrorize residents. He said the issue was long overdue and it was high time government took it seriously.  “The destruction of the fence caused by these elephants often results in an influx of illegal immigrants who take advantage of the broken fence. The elephants have also continued to destroy property and fields. The minister really has to consult with his counterparts, the Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia and Minister of Tourism, Environment and Wildlife Tshekedi Khama on this issue. This is a very serious issue,” he said.

Moyo said he recently travelled along the Matsiloje border fence and witnessed close to 300 herds of elephants passing and destroying the border fence. He also expressed concern over the failure by government to equip law enforcement authorities to deal with the problem. “Matsiloje residents are living in misery and as their member of parliament I do not know what to say about this because the resolution of this issue is long overdue. This really saddens me. I no longer know what to say to them,” he said. Moyo also complained about the poor working conditions of immigration officials at both Matsiloje and Ramokgwebana Border posts. He said their offices were ill equipped and haunted by long queues. He pleaded with Minister Batshu to consider reducing prices for work permits and improve the turn-around time for applications.

A number of residents also complained to the minister about poor service by staff at his Ministry. They pleaded with Batshu to make sure that there is improved service delivery in his Ministry Responding to the concerns, the minister acknowledged the problem caused by elephants and said that he would discuss the issue with other ministries affected