Monday, 20 July 2020


RETURNEES coming through the Plumtree and Beitbridge Border Posts have been supplying authorities with false information in order to dodge officials and sneak back into the neighbouring countries.

Some returnees that are being deported from South Africa and Botswana have been claiming to be from Matabeleland South Province so that they are not transferred to their provinces in order to have easy access back into the neighbouring countries. This has made it difficult for authorities to follow up on some returnees that escape from quarantine centres.

Returnees that are coming in through the Plumtree and Beitbridge Post are taken to quarantine centres in the province where they are tested for Covid-19. Those with results that come out positive are placed under isolation. Returnees that are from other provinces are then transferred to their respective provinces.

In an interview, Matabeleland South provincial social welfare officer Mr Criswell Nyakudya said they have since engaged the Registry Department in order to verify details given by returnees. 

“A number of returnees have proved to be untrustworthy as they have been providing us with false addresses. There are some who claim to have lost their National Identity cards and then give us fake ID numbers, addresses and names and claim to be from Matabeleland South Province. We have been experiencing this mostly with those returnees that would have been deported and not those coming back voluntarily.

“After the returnees have completed their quarantine period they are transported to their respective provinces. Those who pretend to be from Mat South will be doing so in order to avoid being transported to their provinces so they can remain in Matabeleland South where they have easy access back to Botswana and South Africa,” he said.

Mr Nyakudya added: “As a result we roped in the Registry Department which is now checking particulars of returnees. If a returnee doesn’t have an ID and they supply our officers with an ID number and place of origin the officers from the Registry Department can confirm whether that particular ID number matches the district of origin.

“Every returnee that says is from Matabeleland South is now subject to this screening in order to avoid such incidences.” 

Mr Nyakudya said it was difficult to make a follow up on returnees that escaped from quarantine centres when they provided false information.

Matabeleland South provincial medical director, Dr Rudo Chikodzore said the Ministry of Health and Child Care had rolled out an electronic record system in the province to facilitate capturing information of returnees. She said the information will come in handy in the planning process and aligning resources. She said they were in the process of training quarantine and isolation teams in various districts on how to use the system.

“In the long run we will have it linked to other systems to ensure it’s authentic. The main advantage is that this system will reduce the load of paper work and duplication of information. Some of the information is recorded at the point of entry and is also recorded at the quarantine and isolation centres.

“So, if a person’s details are entered at the point of entry their particulars can be accessed nationwide through our system as the Ministry of Health. This information will be updated in real time as the returnees come in. This will make it is easy to do follow ups. It will also improve our efficiency,” she said. Chronicle


Post a comment