Conceding that “It is their country”, South Africa’s firebrand politician and former ANC youth league president, Julius Malema, who was recently placed by Botswana on the list of foreigners that need to apply for visas to visit the country, said that he was not surprised when he learnt about the latest development. ?“I was not surprised at all,” said Malema, without explaining why the move did not come as a surprise to him.
“Yes I’m aware that they have placed me on the list of people who should apply for Visas if they want to travel to Botswana,” Malema told The Sunday Standard in a brief telephone interview. “They have not given reasons for that or the rationale behind that.”?Malema declined to be drawn into further details but, as parting shot, he added that: “They can do what they want to do; it is their country and I’m not going to be involved.” ?South African and British nationals do not need visas to visit Botswana. Although government does not say why it wants Malema to apply for a visa, he has previously criticised President Ian Khama’s administration saying it is a puppet of Western countries.?Malema and Basarwa lawyer Gordon Bennett recently joined 17 individuals from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada who now need visas to enter Botswana. The list appears to comprise primarily of human rights activists, academics and journalists.
Under normal circumstances, the nationals of the above-mentioned four countries are exempt from Botswana visa requirements.??Regulation 5 (1) specifies that: “No visa shall be required by a national of a country visited in the first schedule, who is the holder of a valid passport issued by that country unless the Minister, by notice published in the Government Gazette, declares that such a person is required to obtain a visa.”
The UK, USA, Australia and Canada are included in the first schedule.?
Malema earned the wrath of the Botswana government two years ago when he attacked President Ian Khama and called for an urgent government change in Botswana. Malema, who was then still ANC Youth League (ANC-YL) President, said the ANC-YL would establish a “command team” to work towards united opposition against the “puppet regime” of President Ian Khama. The two other latest entries on the list are Joseph Bennett and Elizabeth Holberton.??The other 17 affected individuals are: Steven Corry, Miriam Ross, Fiona Watson, Jonathan Mazower, Janie Workman, Jonathan Reed, David White, John Walsh, Oliver Duff, Karin Goodwin, Carol Midgley, and Jonathan Simpson ÔÇô all from the UK. Corry, Ross, Watson and Mazower are all from Survival International (SI), government’s well-known nemesis in the CKGR saga.??The listed Americans are: Rupert Isaacson, Eric Grossberg and Tom Price; while Ian Taylor is an Australian and Daniella Stor is Canadian.