Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tati Nickel Manager declared persona non grata for insulting Khama

The controversial court case between embattled Tati Nickel Mining Company manager, Jan Gerber, and the state has finally come to an end, with Gerber booted from the country.

Gerber was on Thursday slapped with deportation papers by immigration officials in Francistown and given 24 hours to leave Botswana, after he allegedly insulted the president during a misunderstanding with some of his colleagues.

The deportation comes even before the case could be heard, as Gerber was waiting to have his day in court, at which his attorney Phazha Kgalemang was expected to vigorously defend him against the charges that he was facing.

Gerber was slapped with a charge of ‘insulting’ Khama in September. It is alleged that on the 16th of September, Gerber, while in a verbal exchange with one of the employees at the mine said that “I do not care if it is the f**k*ng president of Botswana coming”.

He was reportedly facing a fine of up to P500 upon conviction, and he had been released on bail.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Tati Nickel’s Divisional Manager of Capability and Development, Peter Meswele, confirmed that Gerber had been ordered to leave the country, but refused to shed further light on the issue, referring all inquiries to government officials.

“He is no longer with us, you can talk to government as to the reason why he is not here,” said Meswele.

Contacted for comment, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, confirmed that he was aware that Gerber has been deported but declined to disclose the reason why.

“It is a Presidential directive, and only the President would know why he deported him,” said Seretse.
Press Secretary to the President, Sipho Madisa, also said that he could not comment on the issue.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.