Chobe councillors have raised concern at the high numbers of foreigners who cross the border into Kasane and start selling fishing on market places, a business undertaking only reserved for citizens.
According the councillors, the foreigners, mostly from Namibia catch fish on the Namibian side of the Chobe River where the use of fish nets is allowed, and thereafter cross over to sell in Kasane where the uses of nets is prohibited.
Most of them reportedly cross the river using canoes and boats, get processed on entry at the Kasane Immigration Office, which is close to the Chobe River, after which they start selling their fish to locals.
Raising the concerns during the Chobe District Full Council Session in Kasane recently, councillors said that the street vending and hawking businesses is strictly reserved for citizens, and foreigners can only supply local hawkers.
Specially elected Councillor, Paul Chabaesele has suggested that the bye-law officers should be deployed at the Kasane Immigration Office so that they can restrict those foreigners from doing the illegal practice of selling in the town and malls.
“Bye-law officers should monitor the situation at Kasane Immigration Office, the moment they realise that foreigners have stamped their entry documents at Immigration Office and are now crossing to the malls, they should then seize their buckets and cooler boxes containing fish,” he said.
Chabesele said that because Kasane is a tourism area, the use of fish nets is prohibited unlike in Namibia, adding that locals stand to benefit from foreign suppliers.
Chobe Enclave West Councillor Amos Mabuku is of the view that local hawkers should wait for the foreigners at the Immigration Office and buy directly at the border to control the situation whereby foreigners would be invading the local market places on daily basis. He noted that the locals who are interested in the business should also be required to produce permits.
For his part, Chobe District Deputy Council Secretary Oboikanyo Kuti said they are aware that foreigners are invading the local market places by selling the fish illegally. Kuti has explained that bye-law enforcement officers are monitoring the foreign street vendors as they are restricted to sell in Botswana and the Chobe district.
He also encouraged by law enforcement officers to strictly enforce the law in those places. Kuti has added that they have received a directive from Ministry of Local Government announcing that the council should ensure that the informal sector businesses are strictly reserved to locals.
“The street vending business is only reserved for Batswana, we will continue monitoring the situation,” he stressed.