BY THOBO MOTLHOKA
South African mining entrepreneur Bridget Motsepe-Radebe could find herself banned from entering Botswana if the government finds enough evidence to tie her to recent attempts to topple President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The South African government have already distanced themselves from Motsepe’s alleged meddling in Botswana’s succession politics saying any possible action likely to be taken against Motsepe would not be viewed as acting against the South African government.
South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu has assured her Botswana counterpart Unity Dow that any alleged actions taken by Motsepe were not representative of South Africa’s position on internal Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) politics.
Communicating South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s position regarding the allegations leveled against his sister in law, Sisulu said her government would not interfere with any decision taken by the Botswana government against any South Afrcan individuals in relation to the allegations.
Speaking to Sunday Standard on Thursday following their meeting Botswana’s Minister ofInternational Affairs and Cooperation ,Dow ,said the relevant state organs were already investigating the allegations against Motsepe.
“It would be gravely irresponsible of us to ignore such serious allegations,” Dow said. She said appropriate measures will be taken if the recent media articles are anything to go by. Dow did not rule out the possibility of travel restrictions being imposed on Motsepe should she be found guilty of any wrong doing in relation to the accusations.
“The government shall deal with the individuals accordingly and take appropriate actions that may include declaring such individuals persona non grata or imposing visa restrictions.”
She said the decision by President Ramaphosa to send an envoy to Botswana in reaction to the allegations is testament to the friendly relations between the two Presidents.
“Botswana and South Africa are not only friends of necessity but also bound by their shared values, culture and history.” She said Masisi and Ramaphosa were also bound by strong personal ties and mutual respect. Dow called her meeting with Sisulu a great success.
The visit by Sisulu follows weeks of expos├®s by Sunday Standard which began with a secret meeting between Motsepe and Masisi’s then BDP Presidential challenger Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s team in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The Sunday Standard investigations tracked Bridgette Motsepe as she flew out of SA’s Lansaria Airport in the company of Samson Moyo Guma, Shaduff Baaitse, Malcolm X and others in a private jet bound for Victoria Falls. Guma has been in South Africa on a self-imposed exile following tax evasion investigations him.
“The Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) had allegedly received intelligence that the private jet they were travelling in was ferrying US$ 5, 5 million (about P60 million) which was to be handed to former President Lt Gen Ian Khama,” Sunday Standard reported. While he denied money related issues Khama did subsequently confirm the Vic Falls meeting. “On Saturday 30th March, His Excellency the Former President flew from Shakawe to Victoria Falls for a reunion meeting with Ambassador Andrew Young. This visit was not a secret mission as the Zimbabwean government had been notified. Furthermore there was no drama at all as …both Honorable Guma Moyo and Bridget Motsepe were not harassed and deported at the airport. The reunion went as planned and both of them left at their own volition,” Khama wrote in response to Sunday Standard news article.
Subsequent investigations by this publication also uncovered the Botswana Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) had frozen a local company ,Avante Security Services, bank accounts in Gaborone on suspicions that the company was used by Motsepe to launder money for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s presidential campaign.
“FIA has so far tracked three transactions of five million Pula, two million Pula and four million Pula which were transfers from Mmakau Mining to Avante Security. The money was then immediately disbursed from the Avante Security bank account to accounts of a number of people linked to Venson-Moitoi’s campaign,” Sunday Standard reported. Possibly sensing defeat, Venson-Moitoi eventually withdrew from the BDP Presidential race just hours before elections.
Motsepe who was believed to be the biggest financier behind the Venson-Moitoi presidential bid is also the wife to South Africa’s Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe and sister to mining mogul Patrice Motsepe. Ramaphosa is married to Brigitte Motsepe’s sister Dr. Tshepo Motsepe.