Malema can EFF off, says Botswana

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Copy of ND  malema etch INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS EFF leader Julius Malema. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Cape Town - Julius Malema’s chances of visiting Botswana are looking slim after it emerged that the parliamentarian is essentially “banned” from visiting the country. He was set to take part in an Umbrella for Democratic Change (UCD) rally next month.

But a spokesman for the party, which is looking to edge out the current government in this year’s elections, said attempts to bring the Economic Freedom Fighters leader to the country had reached a “stale-mate”.

“The whole thing is sitting with the Ministry (of International Relations),” said UCD spokesman Rasina Rasina.

“It is now their decision whether they will let him into the country.”

In June last year the Botswana government gazette-listed him as the only South African who needs a visa to cross its borders. This is still the case despite Malema receiving a diplomatic passport after becoming a member of Parliament this year.

Rasina said this was a reaction to statements made by Malema in 2011 when he was still part of the ANC Youth League.

He called for a government change in Botswana and said the youth league would establish a “command team” to work to oust the “puppet regime” of the country’s president Ian Khama.

Rasina said his party would be disappointed if Malema was unable to visit the country. He was set to take part in a rally tentatively scheduled to start on September 13. His role would be to “inspire young supporters” and galvanise support and focus during a period of civil unrest.

“He is seen as a revolutionary among the young people here in Botswana.

“They are very excited about him arriving… But, we are not sure if this is even happening so we will have to wait and see.”

Rasina said that he felt it was unlikely as it was not in the government’s best interest to grant him access.

Malema has reportedly begun the visa application process. But while the Cape Argus attempted to reach out to both the EFF leader and the Botswana ministry, neither had responded to queries at the time of going to print.

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation will not be interfering with the process, said spokesman Clayson Monyela.

He said even a diplomatic passport did not allow someone to impose themselves on a sovereign state.

“It’s up to Botswana whether their laws will allow for someone to enter their country.”

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Cape Argus

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