CORRECTION: Look at Zimbabweans leniently: Kapofi

21 Feb 2019 15:30pm

WINDHOEK, 21 FEB (NAMPA) – Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Frans Kapofi has appealed to the Namibian populace to treat their Zimbabwean compatriots plying their trade locally with leniency, amid their unfavourable political and economic situation.
The minister made this call outside his office shortly after a lengthy closed-door meeting with his Zimbabwean equivalent, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Ndabazekhaya Mathema in the capital on Thursday.
“The meeting is just to continue to support Zimbabwe and to look after the Zimbabweans who are here, given the situation in their country that we should look at them leniently and we are content with that. We are willing to do that,” Kapofi told reporters.
Asked to explain what “leniency” in this context meant, he replied: “It’s not flouting laws. I don’t mean that. If that’s what you want me to mean, let it be. We are saying people are here and they must be treated humanely and not just being harassed all over the place.”
Kapofi also took time to respond to media reports that Zimbabwean expatriates are taking up job opportunities in Namibia to the detriment of equally-qualified Namibians.
Last year, local architects and quantity surveyors demanded that the Works and Transport Ministry discontinue the exemption granted to Zimbabwean expatriates in that field.
In 2012, the two countries signed an agreement that allowed 85 Zimbabwean engineers and quantity surveyors to work on capital projects in Namibia and to allow for skills transfer.
The skills transfer component reportedly fell short, as Zimbabwean nationals continued to dominate the industry.
However, this suggestion was rebuffed by Kapofi, who said Zimbabwean expats here are wanted.
“I don’t agree with that. I don’t even understand who those people are with this kind of perception because it is not true. Zimbabweans are legally here and not because they are not wanted,” he said.
On his part, Mathema said his coming to Namibia is a milestone on its own.
“My being here is tangible enough,” he only said.
His visit was mainly to introduce himself to his Namibian counterparts as well as brief them on the political and economic situation back home.
“We are in SADC [Southern African Development Community], we all want to move forward and we participated in the liberation struggle together and we want to consolidate this movement toward making our people get developed. That’s what we fought for,” he said.