The Botswana government was stopped on its tracks by an appeal written on behalf of 866 Namibian refugees who refused to voluntarily repatriate on the set 11 July deadline.
The Voice has learnt that only 74 Namibians observed the deadline and returned home voluntarily with the help of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security had made it clear to the Caprivians, who fled their country in 1999 after the failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi region from Namibia, that failure to register for voluntary repatriation will automatically mean they lose their refugee status.
In a recent media briefing in Francistown Minister Shaw Kgathi warned that, all refugees who ignore the deadline would be rounded up and transferred to the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants where they would await deportation.
It has been nine days since the deadline and the Caprivians are still in Dukwi.
In an interview with The Voice, Minister Kgathi said that they had to wait following a complaint registered with the High Court. “Someone has appealed our decision on behalf of the refugees and we could not transfer them to the Francistown Centre of Illegal Immigrants lest we be seen to be pre-empting the court judgement,” Kgathi said.
“It is strange because the complaint has also written on behalf refugees who have voluntarily left,” the Minister said, further adding that they will know what further step to take after the court judgement.