The Botswana government has hired the services of Afriforum lawyer, Gerrie Nel to help in the legal battle against the obstinate South African government which refused to cooperate in the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requested by that country’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
In September 2019, the Botswana government says it sent a letter to DIRCO, SA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for help in an investigation into money laundering against two or three South African banks involving President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sister-in-law Bridgette Motsepe Radebe and others. Media reports in Botswana since last year have bandied about an amount of 100 billion Pula that was taken from the Bank of Botswana, the country’s Central Bank and laundered through South African banks. South African banks flatly refused to cooperate with the Botswana government investigations. When the Botswana government approached the South African government it refused to cooperate. SA’s Justice Department and NDPP were also contacted to no avail.
Hence resorting to Afriforum Advocate Gerrie Nel. All the facts were confirmed by Botswana’s Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Stephen Basi Tiroyakgosi. The question of why the Botswana government resorted to Gerrie Nel instead of African lawyers is a question for speculation but it needs to be addressed. According to me,this is an indictment on all of us. The Botswana government is probably of the view that African lawyers are close to the ANC government and would be pussyfooting since most of them mollycodle the ANC government because they want business from it, the same way media outlets want adverts from the ANC government and are therefore treating the ANC government with kid gloves.
What subconsciously manifests itself is that the Botswana government officials inadvertently concede inwardly that whites in South Africa still have power and that by hiring the services of a white advocate, they might achieve the information they want from the banks and the ANC government. By the same token, it is also an indictment on the ANC government itself in that it ignored for almost a year a Mutual Legal Assistance request from a neighbouring country which is also a member of SADC but would make it available only because the Botswana government has hired the services of a white advocate.
Bridgette Motsepe and her co-accused should enjoy the legal principle of innocent until proven otherwise. However, the South African government and banks cannot refuse to cooperate with the government of Botswana on the basis that she is Ramaphosa’s sister-in-law or that she is a billionaire’s sister.