The South African government is reportedly blocking Botswana’s efforts to extradite one Emmanuel Tsebe, a Botswana citizen residing in South Africa, to face murder charges in Botswana. At the centre of the legal stalemate is Botswana’s death penalty exercise which the South African government steadfastly opposes.
Emmanuel Tsebe fled the country after allegedly killing his girl friend in Mahalapye in 2007. Insiders have revealed that there are no indications that the negotiations, which have been going on since early this year, will bear any fruit as the South African government is demanding guarantees that Tsebe will not be executed.
“The negotiations have so far reached a stalemate. The main problem is that the two countries hold very opposite views about the death penalty,” he said.
The Secretary for Defense and Security in the Office of President, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe, has in the past confirmed that the two governments are in negotiations over the issue. He, however, declined to give details as regards to how the negotiations are progressing.
Tsebe was arrested in South Africa on Botswana’s request, after which Botswana applied for his extradition to Botswana to stand trial. A Court in South Africa’s Limpopo Province then ruled in favour of Botswana government that Tsebe should be extradited to stand trial, after which the South African government demanded that high ranking officials from the Botswana government should travel to south Africa to give assurances that Tsebe would not be hanged if found guilty of murder.
The Botswana government officials never went to South Africa to make the assurances, and the South African Minister of Justice eventually ordered that Tsebe should be released. Makgonatshotlhe, together with the Public Relations Officer in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Abigail Hlabano, have confirmed that Tsebe has been released from custody in South Africa.
When presenting his credentials to President Ian Khama, incoming South African High Commissioner to Botswana, Ngconde Balfour, briefly spoke about the need for the two countries to live side by side and respect each other’s sovereignty.