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Border Jumpers -

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(generated from captions) CLASSICAL MUSIC With an authentic golden crema, new Nescafe Short Black. It's great to have access electronic banking network. to Australia's largest And now it's even better can give you unlimited because just $4 a month everyday Commonwealth Bank

electronic transactions. of the studio and save heaps MAN: OK, it's time to get out with over $3,000 of extras and it's only $31,990 drive away, no more to pay. now just $49,990 Nissan's Get Real Deals. we are worried about MAN: The people that as they are called - are the border jumpers, at ungazetted points of entry people who just cross depending on the mood of the day. MAN 2: When we cross the border, and it's very dangerous it's very hard the time you'll be trying to cut, because sometimes, the soldiers will be patrolling.

how lucky you are. It's just a matter of luck - trying to get employed, MAN 3: Because we cross the border we fail to get employed. at the same time

to do anything evil, And the hunger can force you is an angry man. because a hungry man (All speaking in African language) I sympathise with these people. what should rightly be done But my sympathy and are two different things. to come and work here, WOMAN: If they are allowed belong to the Zimbabweans. definitely every job will

(Repeats name loudly) (Calls name softly) MAN: What crime did we commit? Did we kill? Did we rape? Did we do any of those things? Never. for over 300 miles. It runs through farm and pastureland and is being electrified. A fence that stands over 8 feet high is Botswana, in southern Africa. The country building the fence of the fence is Zimbabwe. The country on the other side The former British colony of Rhodesia its breadbasket. was one of Africa's richest nations, is shrinking by about 5% a year Now, Zimbabwe's economy at risk of mass starvation. and its population Its president, Robert Mugabe, who overturned British rule was one of the guerrilla leaders in a 15-year liberation struggle. in 1980 at independence, When Mugabe came to power of black Africa. he was hailed as a liberator He has led the country ever since, to stay in power until his death. and has frequently vowed a land reform program In 2000, Mugabe launched

disproportionate control of farms. that ended whites' by Mugabe's supporters - Millions of acres were seized inexperienced in farming. landless blacks and war veterans made the situation worse. Severe droughts and commercial agriculture collapsed, Food production plummeted now threatens the nation's integrity. causing an economic crisis that 70% unemployment With triple digit inflation, like food and fuel, and shortages of basic necessities to neighbouring Botswana. people are fleeing - many of them is the mother of two small children. Mary - this is not her real name - Unable to find work in Zimbabwe, to Botswana she makes several trips a year to do odd jobs - or 'piece work'. at a border station She crosses legally on the pretext of visiting a friend. I don't have a permit. I'm not allowed to work because that I'm here to work. They mustn't know The police, the soldiers, and looking for work. I don't even tell them I'm here I'm visiting somebody. I don't. I'm here as a visitor, I'm not allowed. I don't tell them that I'm working.

back home to support her family. She'll send any money she earns here In Zimbabwe, things are very tough. get anything in the shelves - It's like last year, we could not in the shops, in the supermarkets - no sugar, no mealy meal. no nothing, no flour, It was a big problem. so that we can survive. So we come here in Botswana between Zimbabwe today There's a sharp contrast and its more affluent neighbour. the roles were reversed. 40 years ago, from Britain in 1966, But since gaining independence the gem of Africa. Botswana has come to be called free markets, and the rule of law, By maintaining free elections, Botswana is an African success story. It's not in our nature to boast, to break with the tradition but if you would permit me fortunately our economy and say that, you know, over the years, has consistently done extremely well in this part of southern Africa, and therefore the standard of living indeed as in other places around, in any other places. is much better than fastest-growing economy in the world, Today, Botswana has the a cattle export industry fuelled by diamond mines, and thriving tourism of an underpopulated country. that exploits the natural assets facing many African nations. Yet it's not immune to the hazards and well-stocked stores, Despite its clean cities Botswana has 23% unemployment population is infected with HIV. and more than one third of its So the relative stability of Botswana refugees from across the border. is vulnerable to a mass influx of of 1,7 million people We are a population millions of inhabitants and we are surrounded by of the countries that surround us

and if we were to allow, you know... and allow people to come in, up our borders in no time we'll be swamped up. wake up one morning We cannot just suddenly injected into our societies. and find that some 200,000 have been There would be absolute chaos. to crack down on illegal migration In 2003, Botswana's president vowed and his defence forces have acted. border jumpers Soldiers fan out to intercept near the border fence. in the long stretches of empty land Patrols are constantly in action. At night, raiding patrols the streets of Francistown, regularly sweep through the city closest to the border. straining Botswana's security forces. Dealing with illegal immigrants is were swept up in a series of raids. On one weekend alone, 4,000 of them

of fewer than 3,500 inmates, With a total capacity all but collapsed under the weight. Botswana's prison system

construction of a detention centre In 2001, the government began the country's second largest city. on the outskirts of Francistown, Botswana opened the centre in 2002 from Zimbabwe - to handle the tide of border jumpers and deported 36,000 of them in 2004 alone. The centre is secure, but it looks more like a homeless shelter than a jail. Every day the detainees are here they cost Botswana money, so they're processed quickly - in under five days, on average. Sometimes a soccer game breaks out, but for the most part, the detainees simply sit and wait to be sent back to a country that can't employ or feed them.

You see these border jumpers who are here, they are just here for saving their lives. Life there in Zimbabwe is very tough. The leading opposition party in Zimbabwe is the Movement for Democratic Change - or MDC. Movement Democratic Change! Some of the detainees are seeking political asylum in Botswana. In Zimbabwe, political opponents and critics of President Mugabe are frequently harassed and even jailed for spreading 'false information'. I am a journalist and I ran away from Zimbabwe because of what I was saying. Just those few innocent words get you in trouble. A lot of things are happening in Zimbabwe, but there is no-one to chronicle that. All you foreign journalists were kicked out of Zimbabwe because they don't want all that information to leave the country, and a lot of bad things are happening in that country. Coming here is a cry for help. We are saying to Botswana, "Please look! Do something!" We want to go... All of us want to go back home. Like many of the people here, Solomon is discontented about politics in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's party swept the last two elections despite widespread opposition. International observers regard both elections as rigged. 'Solomon' is not his real name. To me it was not free and fair elections. Because where we lived, we used to be beaten by soldiers. Where we were, a group of four or five young people were being tortured. You were not allowed to put on a T-shirt of your party which you support. If you support the opposition in Zimbabwe, you'll be victimised. Most of the time your life will be at risk. A housepainter looking for work, Solomon crosses repeatedly into Botswana, illegally, to earn money. Just as often, he's arrested and sent back home. He's in the detention centre again, waiting for his number to be called. If it is, he'll board a truck for the 1-hour ride back to Zimbabwe.

In the meantime, he gets a welcome hot meal - a luxury he can't provide for his family back home. As a family man, I wasn't getting enough to fend for my family and myself. So I thought, "It's much better to go to Botswana." Then that's when I decided to come here to look for work. Solomon is a border jumper. He has crossed under cover of darkness through the fence. When we cross the border, we go a bit far from the border post because that area is patrolled. When we come across that no-man's land, we'll be 3 or 4 or 5 guys. Then we come to the fence. We'll be having pliers and a wire-cutter. Some guys will be having blankets. We put on the wire, then we took a cut box and hold it. One will hold it and the other one will be putting on rubber gloves. He will touch the pliers and cut those wires. Then when they open it, we enter one, one, one, one at a time. It's very hard and it's very dangerous. Because sometimes, the time you will be trying to cut, the soldiers will be patrolling. So if you make any mistake, then you are a dead man. You know, electricity wires, they are very dangerous. Once inside Botswana, Solomon is on his own -

and usually penniless until he finds work. I used to stay in the bush, where we call it "to our uncle's place." It's a nickname which we give, all the guys from Zimbabwe, when you don't have somewhere to stay. We call it "to uncle's place". That means you are living in the bush. On this most recent trip, Solomon found a room to sleep in. That turned out to be a mistake and he was soon back at the Francistown detention centre. They arrested us during midnight. It was around 1:00 when the soldiers came. They just entered my room. What I just get there, it was my shoes, my trousers and my jacket. Then they take me to their truck and take me to the police, and at the police station there were a lot of people, there were more than 200 again. Then they took us here to Francistown to deport us without any monies, without anything. WOMAN: We take off the hat in the office. Solomon could be punished with deportation and a fine. For now, he only has to fill out a lot of paperwork. You complete your particulars. No-one seems to know exactly what happens to all these forms. While his paperwork is being processed, Solomon will wait in the assembly area with hundreds of other Zimbabweans. Every afternoon, several truckloads of them will be sent back across the border. (Calls name) It's just a question of when your name is called. (Man calls out name) Today, Solomon isn't among them. He'll spend another night at the centre. (Speaks African language) A group of adults and children head back to Zimbabwe, knowing full well what they'll find when they get there... ..a bad situation getting worse. In May 2005, Robert Mugabe implemented a new policy called Operation Restore Order.

Zimbabwean authorities demolished tens of thousands of homes and street kiosks, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. I mean, imagine. This is winter, we are in the middle of winter. Somebody has his house destroyed. You are forced to sleep out in the open. Just imagine. Temperatures 5 degrees below. I mean, you can't imagine. Critics say the operation was intended to punish the urban supporters of Mugabe's political rivals. But the Zimbabwean government has another explanation. We need to clean our cities. Are people happier when Zimbabwean cities deteriorate to shantytowns? If you don't correct the situation, things will get worse. You need... It's like surgery. You have to take that decision and amputate the foot so that you can save the leg. The word that comes to mind is 'brutality', at a scale that you cannot imagine. Because if you destroy a house while someone's inside, resulting in the death of a 2-year-old, you can... I mean, you can imagine what kind of mentality we are dealing with. Western leaders recently called on African heads of state

to condemn the eviction of urban poor in Zimbabwe. But the African Union refused, saying, "It would not be proper for us "to go interfering in their internal legislation." The failure of the international community to intervene was a bitter disappointment for these Zimbabweans. Look what happened in Rwanda. How long did it take the international community to respond to the disaster in Rwanda? You see? After thousands had died. And the same thing is happening in Zimbabwe. Bit by bit, instalment by instalment, people are dying, the number is increasing, but no-one is doing anything about it. If Saddam could have been removed by force why not the same thing with Mugabe? We used to have hope in Zimbabwe, but every day we see things getting worse and worse and that can make us losing hope. And we have suffered long enough. We need things to change. Mary is one of the many college-educated Zimbabweans who are doing menial labour abroad instead of applying their skills back home. I'm not satisfied to do housemaid because I'm a professional. I hold a diploma in business studies, but in my country I cannot get job. I specialised in accounting. I can manage a company. I can supervise. I can run my own business. In the past few years, one in four Zimbabweans has left the country, like Mary. The money they send home amounts to an estimated $100 million a year. On her most recent trip, Mary has found a job cleaning the house of a well-to-do couple on the outskirts of Francistown. Much of the wealth in Botswana is concentrated in a small upper class.

For someone like Mary, that means plenty of domestic work is available. (Sings in African language) When I'm working I think too much.

But when I am working and when I am singing, I don't think too much. But when you are working and you are quiet, you tend to think of home. You tend not to like the job you are doing when you are cleaning the plates, but I'm not a specialist in cleaning plates and washing other people's clothes, no. So when I sing it covers all the kind of thinking, yes. I want to be one of the superstar singers. I want to be a singer. I am talented, I'm a singer, but I dream that I'm going to be the real singer. I will produce my songs, sell my albums, yes.

After putting in a long day, Mary returns to her temporary residence on the outskirts of town - a small room in a brothel. It costs about half her monthly wages. I'm finding it very difficult to cope with this kind of life. Working here illegally makes Mary especially vulnerable to exploitation. It is not good at all. The way they handle us is not good at all because we are Zimbabweans. It's different from the way they handle the Batswana who work for them. And where I am working, I don't have off days. I work till late hours. I start my work very early. And... They shout, they shout! And sometimes I'm crying, and nearly every day I cry. I think about my kids, I think about my home when I'm shouted at like that. Sometimes I feel I cannot handle it. But I am forced to because I have no option. There's nothing I can do. Mary's domestic job mostly keeps her under the police radar, but every day she risks being stopped and asked to produce her immigration papers. So far, the government of Zimbabwe still allows its citizens to leave the country to shop for basic necessities -

flour, sugar, cooking oil, clothes and blankets. Botswana allows them to enter on a 10-day non-working visa. At the border, they must show enough money to prove they can support themselves during their stay. Zimbabweans are not hard to spot. They carry distinctive plaid bags for their shopping trips and they're wearing shabbier clothing. in Setswana, Botswana's language. On the street, police greet people

will suspect they are Zimbabwean If they don't reply, the officers and ask to see their documents. you visit this country only. POLICEMAN: So it seems too often as opposed to other countries? Why do you like visiting Botswana Even visitors who are here legally by the police. expect to be regularly questioned Dokotela omnibus conductor. Yes. So almost every day you are here. These spot checks for those on the receiving end. are a constant nuisance we don't do that to you. WOMAN: If you come into our country, you know. We just treat you like visitors, We are on duty. We have also policemen in Zimbabwe. we respect visitors. But you know, if you come, We respect them very well. But here you don't respect us. come with all your bags. You just say, "Hey, like someone less at home. "I want to see that," OK, I'll help you. Please can you help me? heightened vigilance One reason for this is on the rise. is that Botswana's crime rate the migrants are part of the problem. And many in Botswana think on suspicion of shoplifting. This woman is being arrested police station She's taken to the local passport or any other documentation. where it's found she doesn't have a to buy something? The money, why do you want I told you, in my bag. I have my passport, is gone with my aunt. Even my passport or at the detention centre. She'll either end up in jail is on the rise. Resentment towards the migrants 95% of Botswanans A recent poll shows that support heightened border security. in Francistown. MAN: There are too many Zimbabweans there's a Zimbabwean I mean, you can tell dirty somehow. 'cause mostly they look

Sometimes they smell, you know.

who was sometimes joking You know, I had a friend Zimbabweans here than in Zimbabwe. saying that there are more Botswanan people are angry. They're very angry. They're unemployed. Each and every morning to go out and look for a job, somebody wakes up in the morning a Zimbabwean guy with cheap labour and only to find that has taken over the job.

they believe they're hard workers. People employ Zimbabweans because They prefer them than the Batswana. you know, yeah. So somehow they feel threatened, just to, you know, just to work. WOMAN: They will do lesser jobs so they need to work. I mean it's, they need a job, So they'll do anything. CVs or whatever, they'll do work. Regardless of their references or the influx of illegal immigrants The question of how to cope with regularly makes headlines. with the Francistown 'Voice'. Nomsa Ndlovu is a journalist the growing tensions She has been reporting and the border jumpers. between her countrymen one sensational case. Ndlovu recently reported suspected Zimbabweans A Botswanan woman of stealing food from her kitchen. with rat poison. So one night she laced it these Zimbabweans ate the food Then, as usual, and one managed to survive. but then three of them died Many people were saying, of these Zimbabweans stealing, "Oh, we are sick and tired "and if people can just do this..." the old woman for doing that. You know, everybody was applauding who was regretting So there was nobody the loss of a human being. that maybe it resulted in everybody could just copy this woman But everybody was like, "Oh, if "then we will have no problems stealing in our houses." "of these Zimbabweans any longer. Nobody sympathises with them Still, Ndlovu grew up in Zimbabwe hostility of her fellow Botswanans. and is alarmed by the rising to put on my table, If I didn't have anything to pay rent and everything, if I didn't have money I can look at is my neighbour. then the first person that for actually coming to us I don't blame them in the same situation and I think that if we were that they are in today, they are doing to us today. we would be doing what Mary's 10-day visa is expiring. will allow her to extend her stay - She's made a decision she hopes a pay-off to an Immigration official. the Immigration offices, Today I'm going to happen because it is risky. but I am nervous about what will Paying a bribe is risky. If you are caught, if they know... you are in trouble. If leaks out, That's why I say I am nervous. And maybe I don't find the officer.

become of me there. I don't know what will to pay the bribe - Since she doesn't have the money borrow the balance from a friend. about 10 days wages - Mary has to I have 13 pula. I have 50 pula and in my pocket enough. I must have 100. It's now 63 pula and it's not she takes lightly. Breaking the law is not something I don't like. I'm a Christian.

but I have no option. I don't want it, I'm not killing anybody. I'm not prostituting, that I can have my days extended but I am giving somebody money so to feed my family. so that I can work

a fine and deportation. If she's caught, she'll face But Mary decides to take the risk. Her mother and two children on what she earns. are completely dependent they are expecting rice, When I go back home, my children, warm clothes - blankets, jackets. cooking oil, clothes - I don't have the money at all. But then, now I cannot afford. the Immigration Office, If things go well to then I go back to work. if I am given my days, I will be very happy. illegal Zimbabweans live in Botswana. No-one knows exactly how many up to 100,000, The government estimates put it as high as 800,000. but unofficial figures feeling the strain, While Botswana is clearly claims to be taking it in stride. the government of Zimbabwe I think it's a natural phenomenon. in the region, Where you've a stronger economy for economic reasons. people tend to be attracted that is unique to Zimbabwe I think it's not only a situation

or to southern Africa. You find the Turks, the Polish, invading Europe. You find the Mexicans invading the United States. So wherever there's a strong economy, people tend to look for greener pastures.

When Botswana began constructing its border fence in 2003, it triggered a diplomatic flurry. Declaring that it violated basic human rights, one angry Zimbabwean official labelled it "Africa's Gaza Strip". The Botswana government claims the fence was designed not to stop people, but livestock from coming over the border. I am saying that the fence was specially designed to keep out livestock and wildlife. And it was actually electrified to protect it from elephants. Basically, that's the statement that I can make. I think if the fence was meant to be a human barrier, somebody else who is an expert in that field would have designed it, I think.

The fence we are building now is intended to be foolproof and it cannot be foolproof. And it is intended primarily for stock disease control. If it is inconveniencing people who are crossing the border illegally, that is incidental. In any case, human beings are too intelligent - you can't stop them with an electric fence running a distance of 350 or more odd kilometres. They'll find ways of crawling underneath and using some instrument to make sure that they get across. Officially, the impetus for building the fence came after devastating outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Botswanan cattle in 2002 and 2003 - caused by infected animals drifting in from Zimbabwe. The outbreaks threatened to destroy Botswana's profitable cattle industry. About two years ago, we have had to slaughter 13,000 head of cattle - destroy 13,000 head of cattle - because of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease between us and Zimbabwe. We don't want to repeat that process. You know, beef is the third biggest industry in this country. We produce to countries like members of the EU, France and Germany, the UK are some of our biggest consumers of our beef. And they've got very stringent, you know, stock disease control restrictions

that they impose upon us. The cattle industry is very fundamental to our lives as Batswana, because it is the only economy that takes the money into the pocket of even the rural dweller in the most remotest part of the country. So that's why we are so passionate about the cattle industry. Japie Strauss, a farmer in northern Botswana, had spent decades establishing his farm and building up his herd. We're about 30 years on the farm now. This is our life. That's what I want to do all my life. I want to be a farmer. I want to farm. I didn't have the opportunity. I had to work and buy - out of a salary - a farm and build up a cattle herd, and we did it eventually. And when we thought, "Now we've got enough, "now we can go and retire and we come to the farm," there was about six, seven years we were here and then foot-and-mouth come. And then it breaked us completely. It took just a matter of hours to slaughter and bury the 305 Brahma cattle. Strauss-Mokateng Farm. Cattle buried - 305. Here lies my fortune. Underground after they killed the cattle. This is where they dug a big hole here, a furrow actually like that, quite deep. They built a corridor from there up to here and they chase the cattle come in here, they shoot them here and bring the next lot in and kill them they close it down. and after it was full I wasn't here. I couldn't stand and see that all your work of a lifetime and buried underground. is killed like that I just couldn't stand it. To Japie Strauss, erecting the fence is a hopeful sign. the fact that the government is very, very necessary The fence is, of course, out of Zimbabwe because it keeps the cattle so foot-and-mouth can't come across. I'll show you now. And really, you can go look. Government try their best now. that's for our benefit. They do their best and farming is useless - Without the fence, you could never farm again, stop coming from across. because the cattle will not other side, let me tell you that - And there's no cooperation from the from Zimbabwean side. There is no cooperation whatsoever. to do that. We didn't have the choice And it also keep the bad guys out, and snare our cattle. because they come They snare our game. without the fence. There's no way you can farm Mary's prospects have improved. Back in Francistown, Her bribe has been accepted,

a 30-day extension of her visa. and she's been issued

the police checks, No longer worried about a small street-side tuckshop. she's found a job running I was so excited When I was given my days come up with something because I know that I can from the days I was given. more time away from home. But the extension means she'll spend because I need to be with them. I'm missing my children very much They're also missing me.

They are with my mother at home. But they are fine. seeing them starving, I couldn't stay at home without blankets and clothes. seeing them without shoes, to look for them something I had to go out so that they've got better life. Yeah. This stay in Botswana is over. Solomon's number has come up. to Zimbabwe today. He will be sent back SOLOMON: It makes me crazy sometimes in a foreign land, but it's like when you are you have to do what they want. but I think it's very bad You have just to be humble every Zimbabwean as a criminal. for the Botswanan people to label Myself, I'm not a criminal. a concerned father about his family. I'm a father, that pertains in Zimbabwe. Everybody knows the situation and see what we can do And I think we must try in order to revamp the economy of Zimbabwe so life can become livable for Zimbabweans. NDLOVU: Deportation is not the solution. It's just a cycle of nothing, you see - a cycle of nothing. A cycle of no solution. (Man calls out names in African language) SOLOMON: When they deport me, I have no choice. I have to come back. I have to jump the fence and come back.

I have no choice, whatever comes. Supertext Captions by the Australian Caption Centre Captions copyright SBS 2006 Quarantine is everywhere, protecting this amazing wildlife sanctuary - Australia. At airports, cruise ship terminals or however you travel, Quarantine matters. To get important information about your destination, visit: It's a must see destination for smart travellers.