The South African government has appealed a Johannesburg High Court judgment which, late last year, ruled that it would be against the country’s constitution to extradite Jerry Phale to Botswana to stand trial for murder of his girl friend.
In its ruling, the Court said there was no guarantee that once extradited to Botswana the accused would not be sentenced to death, which has been ruled unconstitutional under the South African laws.
According to recent South African media reports, the decision to appeal the ruling was made by the Minister of justice, Jeff Radebe.
The South African government feels the lower court ignored the fact that Phale was in South Africa as an illegal immigrant, which was against the country’s laws.
Another man has since died whilst still waiting to be extradited from South Africa to Botswana. He was wanted in Botswana in relation to the murder of his girlfriend before he crossed into South Africa.
Initially, a Magistrate Court had ruled that they could be extradited but the two then appealed against the decision at the High Court and, in their judgment last year, the South African judges ruled it was against the constitutional rights of the then two to be extradited to Botswana.
The South African judges also criticized Botswana courts for continuing to pass the death sentences on people charged with murder, a thing they said was archaic and backward. They also said that Botswana was unashamedly still practicing death sentence whilst most countries in Africa and around the world have long stopped the practice.
This did not go down well with the Attorney General, Athalia Molokomme, who, in an interview with this newspaper, criticized the South African judges for having made such comments against the laws of Botswana, a sovereign state, adding that their comments were misguided.