Johannesburg - Botswana has added Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe, mining magnate and wife of Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, to a list of undesirable individuals who should apply for a visa before entering.
The neighbouring country has added Motsepe-Radebe to the list controlled by the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs along with Sandton socialite Malcolm X.
The Star received a copy of the notice on Tuesday.
It has been speculated for days that Motsepe-Radebe and Malcolm X could face such action.
Botswana accuses Motsepe-Radebe and Malcolm X of being at the centre of a plot to topple incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Botswana-based newspaper Sunday Standard recently published a series of damning articles linking Motsepe-Radebe and Malcom X to a detailed plot that also allegedly involved former Botswana president Ian Khama.
According to the paper, the plotters reportedly wanted Masisi to be replaced with former cabinet minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who was reportedly Khama’s preferred candidate ahead of the congress that was held in Kang on April 5.
Venson-Moitoi withdrew from the ruling party’s presidential race, citing preparation irregularities. This saw Masisi retaining his position as party president without contestation.
Motsepe-Radebe said via communications firm BCW that she did not wish to comment on the matter.
A meeting by the plotters against Masisi was allegedly intercepted in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Malcolm X and Motsepe-Radebe, sister-in-law to President Cyril Ramaposa, were reportedly detained and interrogated by Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation before being deported back to South Africa.
The meeting, which was to be attended by the two South Africans, Khama and US diplomat Andrew Young, was allegedly aimed at channelling about 60million pula (R79m) to Venson-Moitoi’s campaign.
The money was reportedly going to be used to buy votes for Venson-Moitoi in her Botswana Democratic Party presidential bid.
Days after the news broke, Khama took to Facebook to reject the claims. A statement said: “Khama is not a smuggler and has no intentions to venture into the underworld. He is a law-abiding citizen and continues to uphold the constitution even though some may flout it willy-nilly and only refer to it when it is convenient. There were no plans for them to be airlifted to a secret venue, as there was no secret mission to be accomplished. No one ever promised to donate P60m to Honorable Venson Moitoi’s campaign.”
But South Africa moved quickly to handle what could have become a diplomatic disaster. Minister of Department of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu flew to meet Masisi.
Botswana’s president hinted in his Facebook post that the meeting focused on the matter. “The special envoy conveyed a message from President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterating the long-standing and excellent relations between Botswana and South Africa despite the recent media reports, relations between the two countries remain solid,” he said.
Department spokesperson Ndivhu- wo Mabaya told The Star discussions between the Masisi and Sisulu “remain confidential until we issue a media statement South Africa does not get involved in the visa application processes of other countries”. Malcom X ignored a request for comment sent to him via Whatsapp, and did not take calls from The Star.
EFF leader Julius Malema was served with a notice to apply for a Botswana visa in 2011.
While he was still ANC Youth League president, Malema labelled Khama and the BDP as a “footstool of imperialism and a security threat to Africa” and called for regime change in Botswana. Malema applied for a visa in 2014 and was declined.