ConCourt to rule on extraditions

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will rule on Friday whether South Africa may legally deport or extradite illegal immigrants charged with a capital crime in another country.

The constitutionality of extraditions was challenged in February by two Botswana citizens, Emmanuel Tsebe and Jerry Phale.
Both Tsebe and Phale were charged with murdering their partners but fled to South Africa.Tsebe has since died.

Before Tsebe's death the pair had applied to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to prevent their extradition to Botswana, unless their country gave a written assurance that the death penalty would not be imposed. The court granted the order.

Their order was granted, but South Africa's ministers of home affairs and justice and constitutional development appealed to the Constitutional Court, which heard the matter in February.

Lawyers for the ministers argued the High Court had not paid attention to the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act in determining its ruling.

Michael Donen, for the justice ministry, said there were three ways the matter could be dealt with.

The immigrants could either be allowed to walk free, the government could adopt legislation to deal with the matter, or a diplomatic approach could be followed.

Political clout


Donen said his client had no alternative but to resort to using political clout.

Marumo Moerane, for home affairs, said the Immigration Act provided a systematic way to deal with illegal immigrants, including those with warrants for murder.

He said the government was merely seeking to comply with the Constitution. Though constitutional rights were extended to all people in the country, these two fell into a different category.

"The two [Tsebe and Phale] are prohibited illegal foreigners and liable to be deported."

He said there was no evidence Phale would be convicted for the murder, in which he was implicated by circumstantial evidence. He said if Phale were not deported, he would become a liability to South Africa because he could not find employment.

Anton Katz, counsel for Phale and Tsebe, argued the court order was supported by previous Constitutional Court decisions as well as international law.

Their argument is that under South African law and international law, it is unlawful for South Africa to extradite or deport people to states where they are at risk of being subjected to cruel or inhuman treatment, or the death penalty, in the absence of an assurance that they will not be subjected to this.

The Society for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and a friend of the Court, Amnesty International, support the arguments presented on behalf of Messrs Phale and Tsebe.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 8987 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 3579 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.14
-1.3%
Rand - Pound
21.36
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.26
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.30
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.4%
Gold
1,783.48
0.0%
Silver
22.55
0.0%
Palladium
1,816.00
0.0%
Platinum
936.31
0.0%
Brent Crude
69.88
+0.3%
Top 40
64,307
-0.4%
All Share
70,808
-0.3%
Resource 10
66,503
-1.6%
Industrial 25
93,791
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,982
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE