Businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has rebuffed claims of political interference in Botswana and defended her family’s friendship with former president, Ian Khama.
In April, Botswana took the unusual step of banning Motsepe-Radebe from entering the country without a visa. In general, South Africans do not need a visa in advance to enter neighbouring Botswana.
The reason was not given but Motsepe-Radebe has faced allegations that she took sides between rival factions within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in a bid to remove President Mokgweetsi Masisi who has fallen out with his predecessor Ian Khama.
“There is a lot of reputational damage that is being done,” Motsepe-Radebe told a Johannesburg news briefing, at which she criticised “incorrect reporting” about her.
Addressing reports from some media in Botswana accusing her of having an affair with Khama, she explained how far back their friendship goes. “President Khama’s father, who was the first president in 1966 in Botswana, was friends with my dad. They became friends before he became president, before he was even married. They were best friends at the University of Fort Hare, that is how far our lives go with the Khama family …” she said.
“… I went to university in Botswana and Botswana is like a second home. The allegations that are being said about anything beyond friendship and what I’m saying is all incorrect.” She said none of the claims against her could be proven and she wants them probed. “I need a lot of investigations to be done. Interpol must get involved, everybody must get involved,” she said. Motsepe-Radebe was accused of supporting an opposition coalition in Botswana called Umbrella for Democratic Change [UDC]. On Thursday, she retorted: “I do not know the UDC leaders and I’ve never had any dealings with them.”
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