Jeff Ramsay, President Festus Mogae’s spokesman, says that South African authorities have not yet approached them to ask for clemency for their citizen, Michael Molefe, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Robert Ncube in 2000.
Ramsay said that he has only heard about it in that country’s media but that no one had officially approached them yet.
“I have only heard that they intend to do so in the country’s media but we have not heard anything from them as yet,” he said.
Asked what their response would be if approached on the matter, Ramsay said that he did not want to speculate on such a sensitive matter.
Amongst South African officials who have been quoted by the country’s media as saying that they will approach the Botswana government on the issue is Foreign Affairs officer, Ronnie Mamoepa.
A Gaborone lawyer, who commented on condition that he is not quoted, said that he did not think the Government of Botswana would give in to the South African request on such a matter.
According to the lawyer, the response they are likely to get is that the government did not interfere in judicial matters.
“I see their request falling on deaf ears on this matter as our government strongly supports the death sentence,” said the lawyer.
On several occasions, Mogae has personally stated that he fully supports the death sentence.
If Molefe loses the appeal, his lawyer, Ookeditse Maphakwane, has indicated that he will approach the Court of Appeal.
Molefe would be the second South African citizen to be hanged in Botswana.
The first one was a woman, Marieta Bosch, who was sentenced to death for having killed a friend.
Another South African, Thami Nyembe, is currently serving a 16-year sentence for murder. He is alleged to have murdered a night watchman in Thamaga Village. His appeal was turned down in the last session of the Court of Appeal.
Besides Molefe, the other foreigner on death row is Gerald Dube, a Zimbabwean citizen who was sentenced to death for murdering four fellow Zimbabweans he was residing with in Francistown.
Close to a dozen other Zimbabwean citizens are also facing murder charges for crimes allegedly committed during violent robberies in Botswana.
They include a woman who, together with two males, is reported to have strangled an Indian national who was about to leave the country and from whom they stole money in Gaborone.
Four other male suspects are alleged to have killed a South African businessman in Ruretse outside Gaborone whilst another four male Zimbabweans are alleged to have killed a woman driver in Orapa, along the Francistown Road.