SA's handling of Chang, Ntsie matters risking Bushiri extradition process?

Over the past decade countries including Mozambique and Lesotho have failed to have accused and convicted criminals face the music in those countries.

FILE: Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. Picture: facebook.com/shepherdbushiriministries

JOHANNESBURG - Government said that it will apply for Malawi to extradite fugitives Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary but actually extraditing the couple could be an uphill battle and might never happen.

Over the past decade, countries including Mozambique and Lesotho have failed to have accused and convicted criminals face the music in those countries.

Not only do the fugitives remain in South Africa, some even do business with our government.

Mozambique’s former finance minister, Manuel Chang was arrested in December 2018 and was still in custody.

He is wanted by that country and the United States for fraud and corruption in the embezzlement of $2 billion.
South Africa said it couldn’t extradite him to Mozambique because that country hadn’t charged him. Now, it has filed the charges, so how much longer will it be before he is extradited?

In 2012, Habofanoe Ntsie was found guilty of killing two people in Lesotho but he fled to South Africa during sentencing. After Lesotho applied for his extradition, the Department of Trade and Industry gave him work to produce videos. He was accused of sexual assault, arrested and released on bail by the Ladybrand Magistrates Court but that still had no bearing on his extradition. He is still here in South Africa.

In 2009, Reatile Mochebelele, a former commissioner of the multi-billion rand Lesotho Highlands Water Project between Lesotho and South Africa was found guilty of fraud and corruption for receiving bribes and Lesotho wanted him to serve a 10-year sentence, so an extradition application was filed.

In 2019, his challenge was set aside, a warrant of arrest was authorised and the Randburg Magistrates Court ordered that he should be "committed to prison to await the decision of the Minister of Justice with regard to his surrender to Lesotho".

But Mochebelele was never arrested and he remains in South Africa.

So can South Africa really rely on the SADC protocol to bring back the Bushiris?

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.