South Africa: S. Africa Tycoon Denies Plot Against Botswana Leader Masisi

South Africa businessman Patrice Motsepe has denied having any interest in Boswana politics following allegations that his family was plotting the ouster of President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The allegations have been repeated since April when his sister Bridgette Motsepe Radebe was denied visa free entry to Botswana, which all South Africa citizens.

This prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity led by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Dr Motsepe's brother in-law by virtue of being married to his sister Tshepo, Pretoria's first ready.

Bridgette, ranked by Forbes as one of Africa's richest women, is married to Jeff Radebe, who President Ramaphosa dropped from the South Africa cabinet last month

The allegations gained further political capital when firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said in a tweet that there was truth in claims that a top South Africa family was meddling in Botswana's politics.

Mr Malema even promised to disclose everything on Sunday.

In a statement on Thursday, however, Dr Motsepe send there was nothing more than a meeting of family friends between him and Botswana's former president Ian Khama.

"We do not want to get involved and have no interest in the politics of Botswana or the development of any political party," a statement issued by his company African Rainbow Minerals read.

It admitted that Dr Motsepe had a brief, courtesy meeting with Mr Khama at the OR Tambo International Airport without disclosing the date of the encounter. "(The meeting) was also agreed to because of the old family friendship and ties which began when their fathers Sir Seletse Khama and Mr ABC Motsepe were students at the University of Fort Hare (South Africa)," the statement added.

Mr Khama cut ties with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which was formed by his father to start a new party, Botswana Patriotic Front, citing "deepening differences with the current administration" under President Masisi.

Botswana's weekly papers - Sunday Standard and Gazette - in May reported that Mr Khama 'secretly' met with Motsepe in Johannesburg to 'strategise' on how to topple President Masisi. The two papers alleged that Dr Motsepe was bankrolling the plot to overthrow Masisi.

The Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club owner has since instituted legal action against Sunday Standard, who went on to publish a series of reports around the allegations

"Our lawyers have been to Botswana during the week to try to deal with these disturbing and worrisome developments," the statement signed by Sandlie Langa of ARM's legal department on June 13, 2019 added.

It said he did not pay or contribute a single cent for political purposes in the neighbouring country.

"The allegations that he pledged 22 million Rand ($1.5 million) to any political party or persons and was involved in smuggling money into Botswana are absolutely false and malicious," the statement added.

Mr Malema tweeted on Sunday that he believed there was a "plot to remove the current Botswana government by some members of a powerful South African family."

"I will speak about it and the plot to remove the current Botswana government by some members of a powerful South African family on the 16 June 2019 at University of Fort Hare Sports Complex, Alice Campus," read Mr Malema's tweet on his verified handle.

In April, President Ramaphosa was forced to send foreign minister Lindiwe Sisulu to Botswana to assure President Masisi neither South Africa, nor any of its citizens, was angling for regime change in the northern neighbour.

This was soon after Bridgette's visa free entry status to Botswana was revoked by Botswana's Immigration minister Magang Ngaka Ngaka on April 17, 2019.

Dr Patrice Motsepe's suit against the Sunday Standard came a couple of weeks after Mr Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama differed publicly over Botswana's lifting of a ban on hunting of elephants. They also differ on gay relationships which the Botswana court decriminalised this week.

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