SA con­sti­tu­tion saves man from gal­lows

The Mercury - - NEWS - Zelda Venter

THE South African con­sti­tu­tion, which out­laws the death sen­tence, has saved a Botswana cit­i­zen from pos­si­bly hang­ing if con­victed on a mur­der charge in his coun­try.

Keitk­ile Jampe, with the help of Lawyers for Hu­man Rights, turned to the Gaut­eng High Court, Pre­to­ria, for an ur­gent or­der that he be re­leased from Lin­dela Repa­tri­a­tion Camp in Krugers­dorp, where he has been de­tained for more than 430 days pend­ing extradition to Botswana.

But Jampe said that should he go back to his coun­try of ori­gin, he may be hanged. The Botswana po­lice are look­ing for him in con­nec­tion with a charge of mur­der.

The par­ties set­tled the mat­ter in terms of which Home Af­fairs agreed not to de­port him un­less the Botswana gov­ern­ment gave an as­sur­ance that he would not re­ceive the death penalty if he re­turned.

Judge Let­tie Molopa-Sethosa also or­dered that he be re­leased from Lin­dela. Jampe has to re­port to the direc­tor-gen­eral of Home Af­fairs to se­cure his law­ful stay in South Africa in terms of the im­mi­gra­tion reg­u­la­tions.

Jampe said in court pa­pers that he was born in 1979 in Botswana. He has no for­mal ed­u­ca­tion and is a shep­herd. He fled to South Africa in Au­gust last year as he feared he would be ar­rested for a crime pun­ish­able by the death sen­tence.

He was ar­rested by the SAPS shortly af­ter he crossed the bor­der, for en­ter­ing the coun­try il­le­gally.

A mag­is­trate in Ku­ru­man in the North­ern Cape sen­tenced him to 50 days’ im­pris­on­ment for be­ing il­le­gal in the coun­try. This he served, but when he was re­leased, he was nabbed again and taken to Lin­dela.

Jampe said that while at Lin­dela, his un­cle told him po­lice in Botswana were ask­ing about his where­abouts. This re­lated to the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion against him. He did not elab­o­rate on the al­leged crime.

Botswana pre­scribes the death penalty for mur­der and trea­son. South Africa, which abol­ished the death penalty more than 20 years ago, can­not in terms of the law and con­sti­tu­tion send a per­son back to a coun­try while know­ing that the per­son may face death.

Jampe said he lived in fear every day at Lin­dela that he would be de­ported back to Botswana. “I live in fear for my life and safety,” he said.

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