Sunday, March 3, 2024

No progress in Botswana/ RSA extradition talks

After years of negotiations, Botswana and South Africa have still not found common ground on the issue of extraditing Botswana murder fugitives who skip the country to South Africa. “At the moment we have not made much progress on the issue but we are still negotiating it with our South African counterparts”, said Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security Augustine Makgonatshotlhe in an interview with the Sunday Standard. The issue first arose after a Mahalapye man the late Emmanuel Tsebe who fled to South Africa after allegedly murdering his girlfriend was arrested by South African police.

Tsebe was later given asylum in South Africa following a failed extradition attempt by Botswana. Another murder suspect, Jerry Phale fled to South Africa and Botswana could not have him extradited back to face trial. A lower Court ruled that he should be extradited. His lawyers appealed to the Court of Appeal which ruled against extradition and castigated Botswana practicing capital punishment. This riled Botswana Attorney General Athalia Molokomme who said it was not for the SA judges to say what is best for Botswana.

In a related matter of extradition between the two countries, Botswana was in the past forced to return three murder suspects to South Africa after the South African government had claimed that extradition protocol were not followed in first arresting them in South Africa and bringing them to Botswana. The three included Benson Keganne, a Botswana citizen who was after the murder trial sentenced to death whilst those arrested with him two South African citizens were sentenced to 25 years each in prison on account that they were young when they committed the murder. Unoda Mack then represented Keganne on his appeal and the sentence was reduced to 25 years.


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