Botswana denies vendetta against EFF after visa restrictions
The Botswana government does not have a vendetta against members of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Labour and Home Affairs Minister Edwin Batshu said on Friday.
The announcement follows reports that Botswana had added EFF members to a list of people who must apply for a visa to enter the South African Development Community (SADC) country.
“We are not targeting them. There are a lot of people on visa restrictions,” Batshu said, refusing to state reasons for the recent inclusion of another five EFF members on the list.
“When we put someone on visa restrictions, it means they have done something which threatens the security of our country. We want to protect citizens of this country,” he said on the sidelines of the South Africa-Botswana bi-national commission.
South African lawyer and EFF member Dali Mpofu, the party’s chief whip Floyd Shivambu, MPs Magdalene Moonsamy and Andile Mngixtama and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are now required to apply for a visa before entering Botswana.
Party leader Julius Malema had a visa requirement condition imposed on him last year and in September, he was denied a visa to enter Botswana.
In October, EFF members were detained by immigration officials in Windhoek for not having visas, during a visit to the manifesto launch of the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters.
Asked if the recent visa restrictions on some EFF members would lead to tensions between the two countries, Batshu said: “I don’t think so.”
“We are a sovereign state. There are things that South Africa does which we don’t necessarily agree with and vice-versa. However, we still remain partners.”
Malema’s inclusion on the list was reportedly linked to his remarks that Botswana’s government was a puppet of the West, and his call, in 2011, for “regime change” in Botswana. At the time he was still leader of the ANC Youth League.
Recently, several international citizens have been placed on a visa restrictions list by the President Ian Khama’s administration.
They include Hollywood actor Rock Yune and lawyer for the Basarwa (San) people, Gordon Bennett. Yune is a friend of Botswana’s main opposition party leader Duma Boko. – Sapa