President Cyril Ramaphosa quietly sent Lindiwe Sisulu's minister for international relations to Botswana this week to smooth out the water after the storm broke about alleged interference by Bridgette Radebe with his sister-in-law's succession policy in the neighboring country.
Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu recently met with President Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi, with an olive branch in hand, after reports that the prominent South African businesswoman Bridgette Radebe was involved in the presidential campaign of a competitive candidate, former foreign minister of Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Although Radebe downplayed his involvement in the Venson-Moitoi campaign in the run-up to the elected Democratic Party conference in Botswana earlier this month, the Sunday Standard of Gaborone is this weekend report on the front page that Radebe is facing a possible ban on a trip to Botswana.
On Thursday, Masisi posted the following information about him Facebook page:
"This morning I received a special envoy from the President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphos, in the person of the Honorable Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu in the president's office.
"A special envoy sent a message from President Cyril Ramaphos, repeating the longstanding and perfect relationship between Botswana and the Republic of South Africa. The news ensured that despite recent media reports, relations between the two countries remained solid.
"In addition, I would like the peaceful and successful general elections soon to the people of South Africa. # MokgweetsiWaLona # MovingBotswanaNext #GoMasisi"
While Masisi was playing open cards about the meeting, she was covered with a secret from the South African side. In the inner circle, it is said that reports on Radebe's interference presented Ramaphosa with a huge headache because, according to the adopted South African policy, one should not engage in succession policy in another country.
Sisulu spokesman Ndivhuho Mabaya, in response to WhatsApp questions to confirm the meeting and its content, replied briefly: "Greetings, when we want to say something, we will issue a statement."
A spokesperson for Ramaphosy Khusela Diko sent a request to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).
Radebe has long-term mining interests in Botswana through Mmakau Mining Daily Maverick said last week she explored other possibilities in a company that froze its assets this month in Botswana. The charge, however, was that Radebe "laundered" millions of dollars through Avante Security Services for the Venson-Moitoi campaign before the BDP conference. Radebe denied and her lawyers he threatened to sue the Sunday Standard, claiming that he incorrectly reported the amount Mmakau paid to Avante. Nevertheless, Radebe admitted that he was close to Venson-Moitoi from the university days in Botswana. Venson-Moitoi, who enjoyed the support of former president Ian Khama, withdrew from the presidential race because she said there was no chance after some of her major supporters were blocked at the conference. Masisi, who became the president after a 10-year term of Khama in the past year, expired last year without objection at the conference (Botswana is to hold parliamentary elections later this year).
The Sunday Standard reports that Ramaphosa has distanced himself from his sister-in-law (Ramaphosa is the wife of Radebe's sister, Tshepo Motsepe, while Radebe is married to a member of Ramaphosy's cabinet, energy minister Jeff Radebe) and that South Africa will not disturb every action that Botswana decides to take against Radebe. According to the report, Foreign Minister Unity Dow said that the country is considering imposing visa restrictions on Radebe.
She would not be the first South African person who will face visa restrictions. EFF leader Julius Malema could not enter Botswana in 2011, when he was still the leader of the ANC Youth League, after he said that the league would create a "command team" to unite the opposition parties in Botswana with Kama (call for regime change) in Botswana was one of the reasons why Malema was thrown out of the ANC).
Malema then applied for a visa to enter Botswana, but was refused without giving reasons. The five EFF members are also on the list of visa restrictions. The Bridgette Motsepe case threatened the relatively cordial relationship between South Africa and its neighbor.DM
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