Mafioso's lawyers want SA minister's help
Johannesburg - Lawyers for alleged Italian mafia member Vito Palazzolo have approached the Western Cape High Court in a bid to keep him from being deported to Italy.
In court papers submitted on Thursday, his lawyers asked the court to rule that the minister of international relations must appeal to the Thai government on Palazzolo's behalf.
This was to notify the other country - where Palazzo, 64, has been detained - that he was a South African citizen and that he was travelling on a South African passport.
"...In terms of s 21(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, he is entitled to enter South Africa."
Palazzolo is currently in jail in Thailand after flying there from Hong Kong. Italian authorities are however attempting to get him deported for alleged crimes committed in Italy.
Should the application be unsuccessful, the lawyers have requested an order for the minister to provide the reasons for it.
He is allegedly a wanted member of the Sicilian mafia and is being investigated for money laundering. In 2006 he was convicted in absentia for Mafia links.
The probe was started by the now-defunct Scorpions and taken over by the Hawks.
In March 2003, Palazzolo was found not guilty of fraudulently acquiring citizenship by the Cape Town Regional Court.