South Africa’s diplomatic relations with Botswana at odds

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The Botswana government has officially lodged a complain with South Africa’s Ministry of International Relations after Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s convoy allegedly pushed Botswana President Ian Khama’s vehicles off the road, in Botswana this past week. South Africa’s diplomatic and bilateral relations with Botswana have been good over the years.

Relations between the two countries dates a while back and were formalised with the establishment of Representative Offices in both countries in 1992. The upgrading of relations to full diplomatic level came into force on 22 June 1994. Now there are reports that Gaborone is not happy with Pretoria over an incident, where North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, was attending an official event in Botswana last week. The office of Botswana President Ian Khama, accuses Premier Mahumapelo’s convoy of pushing its President out of the road during last week’s visit.

” The incident did occur and we did express concern to the South Africa government. We are concern , we confirm the situation where the one convoy basically, pushed the other convoy off the road so we have expressed concern about that. From our Foreign Ministry to your Foreign Ministry,” said Jeff Ramsey, Botswana government and presidential spokesperson.

North West and Botswana’s capital Gaborone are a two-hour drive apart.  Asked for a comment, Premier Mahumapelo’s spokesperson Brain Setswangmbung confirmed that Premier was in Botswana last week.

“We have a very good relationship with that government from time to time when they have events, they are attended by the Premier. In respect this specific incident, we do not have any knowledge about it because the Premier or his office has not received any complain to that effect,” said Setswangmbung.

Approached for a comment on this matter, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations, Clayson Monyela had this to say. “I am not commenting on that thing, you have to call the Botswana government. If they have confirmed then you have to run with what they are telling you.”

With information not forthcoming from South African government it remains to be seen how relations, if any, will be affected as Botswana government is expecting a response from Pretoria this week.