Botswana bans Bridgette Radebe

Energy minister Jeff Radebe's wife Bridgette is now required to apply for a visa when travelling to Botswana.
Energy minister Jeff Radebe's wife Bridgette is now required to apply for a visa when travelling to Botswana.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Botswana has banned the wife of a South African minister, who is also a sister of a powerful mining tycoon and the president’s sister-in-law, from entering the country visa-free, according to documents seen by AFP on Tuesday.

A document issued by Botswana’s Immigration minister Magang Ngaka Ngaka on April 17, 2019, said South African energy minister Jeff Radebe’s wife Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe must “obtain a visa to enter Botswana".

The official reason for the move is not given, but local media have accused her of meddling in Botswana’s politics.

Motsepe-Radebe, 59, is president of the South African Mining Development Association. She is also the older sister of billionaire Patrice Motsepe, and of South Africa’s first lady, Tshepo Motsepe.

Forbes says Patrice Motsepe in 2008 became the first black African on its rich list. It estimates his wealth at $2.5 billion (2.23 billion euros).

South Africans normally do not require an advance visa to travel to their land-locked, diamond-rich neighbour, although several prominent figures have been blocked from entering the country without first applying for permission.

The document did not state a reason for the visa requirement, although Motsepe-Radebe has faced allegations she interfered in the recent leadership election of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a bid to remove President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Local media reports alleged she and her mining mogul brother had funded the campaign of Masisi’s rival for the party top job, former foreign affairs minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

President Cyril Ramaphosa sent foreign minister Lindiwe Sisulu to Gaborone last week after the accusations surfaced in the media that his sister-in-law had meddled politically.

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