Cape Town – Botswana has reportedly barred local farmers from employing "cheap" Zimbabwean workers, saying farmers should pay farm workers well so that they can attract Batswana to work in their farms.
According to New Zimbabwe.com some Botswana famers had pleaded with government to allow them to hire Zimbabweans to work in their fields, arguing that they were "effective" and that Batswana were not keen to work for locals.
But Home Affairs Minister Edwin Batshu rejected the request, saying government had reserved farm jobs for locals and did not issue permits to foreigners in that sector.
"What will happen if the Zimbabwe economy improves at the time when Batswana are relying on their cheap labour in their farms," Batshu was quoted as saying.
Another year of economic decline
This comes as News Day reported on Wednesday that Zimbabwe was losing skilled agriculture workers to South Africa and other neighbouring countries.
A Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat) revealed that the lack of work opportunities in Zimbabwe and the need to increase income for the household were some of the major reasons for emigrating.
The revelation comes after a spate of xenophobic attacks which killed at least seven people in South Africa. South Africans accuse foreign nationals of taking local jobs by offering cheap labour.
Zimbabwe's economy is currently on its knees and according to the country’s central bank, over 4 000 workers lost their jobs in 2014. The Zimbabwe finance ministry said 4 600 companies closed down between 2011 and October 2014, resulting in 64 000 job losses.
Local economists have also warned that, unless something drastic happens, 2015 will be another year of economic decline in Zimbabwe, associated with the collapse of social institutions and a further reduction in the delivery of essential services to the population.