Reacting to the figures, a top Zimbabwean immigration official described relations between the two countries as “fairly deplorable”.
In April alone, 6, 463 people were deported — 4,228 males, 1,999 females and 236 children.
In May the figure went down to 3,128. Of those, 87 were children.
In June, 3,707 people were deported, 2,390 being male, 1,159 female and 97 children.
Hebert Mudzvova, the acting regional immigration officer at the Pumtree border post said: “What is worrying is the fact that not all the people who are deported are illegal immigrants. They pounce on some genuine visitors and do not give them a chance to go and produce their travel documents.
“There is a need to allow these people to collect their belongings because if they are just bungled into trucks and deported, this has a ripple effect as they will go back to that country to collect their belongings.”
Mudzvova said July had been an exception, with deportations likely to peak sharply.
He said nine trucks disgorged people at the border in a single day, while an average four trucks were arriving with deportees daily.
He noted that the deportations increase when there is a public holiday in Botswana. On July 20, when nine trucks arrived, it was President Day in Botswana.
Some Zimbabwean who are deported, he said, were giving horrific testimonies of their treatment at the hands of that country’s law enforcement agents.
He said the deportees speak of people being beaten up with sjamboks.
After going through immigration formalities, the deportees are referred to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) screens them before giving them assistance to travel back to the districts of origin.
Following a decade-long economic slump, Zimbabwe’s economy is showing signs of improvement after a new power sharing government took office in February. But Zimbabweans continue to flock to neighbouring countries, mainly South Africa and Botswana, looking for work.