A diplomatic confrontation is looming between Botswana and South Africa’s Ministries of Justice, following a South African court’s ruling that Emmanuel Tsebe, a Botswana citizen wanted here for the murder of his girlfriend, can be extradited to stand trial as there is no danger that he will be sentenced to death if found guilty.
But now sources says that the South African government is unwilling to extradite him because of the fear that Botswana might go back on the assurance it made that Tsebe will not be executed even if the High Court finds him guilty of murder and the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence.
The fear is reported to arise from a past case in which another Botswana citizen, Benson Keganne, is currently on death row.
Keganne, along with two South Africans, were found guilty of having murdered a Motswana woman, Gloria Mahowe.
Keganne was extradited to Botswana on assurances that he would not be executed even if Courts found him guilty.
The two South Africans were each sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by Lobatse High Court judge David Newman.
Botswana government is now reported to have gone back on this assurance and that it has indicated that Keganne might be hanged if the Appeal Court coming up next month in July upheld the judgment of the Lobatse High Court judge.
That the Botswana government has gone back on its assurance on the issue was in the past confirmed by Dick Bayford, who is representing Keganne in his appeal.
Bayford also says that backing off from international agreements was inadvisable.
“This is a bad thing for the government to do as it compromises the good relations between law enforcement officers of both countries and, worse, could make fighting cross border crime between the two countries almost impossible,” he said.
As a result of this stand-off, reports say that the Minister of Justice and Security, Ndelu Seretse, as well as Attorney General, Athalia Molokomme, are traveling to South Africa on a date still to be set to address the problem.