Businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has set the record straight regarding allegations of political meddling and an alleged affair with Botswana’s former president Ian Khama.
Speaking in Johannesburg on Thursday, Motsepe-Radebe said she and Khama were just family friends.
“President’s Khama father, Seretse Khama, who was the first president in 1966 in Botswana, he and my dad… were best friends at Fort Hare University. That’s how far our lives go back,” she said.
“The allegations that are being said about anything beyond the friendship, and anything beyond what I am saying, [are] incorrect.”
She said much of what had been reported on the matter, both in Botswana and South Africa, was false, adding that she intended suing one Botswana publication.
Motsepe-Radebe also denied that she had been involved in money laundering, the illicit outflow of capital from South African, regime change and terrorism, as reported in the media.
It was reported that she had been imprisoned in Zimbabwe after a meeting with US diplomat Andrew Young and Khama. A tip-off claimed that she was smuggling money into the country to be used to buy votes for an opposition candidate in the Botswana election, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
Motsepe-Radebe, however, said the meeting was simply a diplomatic one, but that a publication had reported false information about it.
Motsepe-Radebe said she intended to sue this publication.
“I’ve never given money for anything regarding regime change, ever in my life, and if they say I have, then they have to prove it,” she said.
Earlier this year, Motsepe-Radebe was accused of being part of a looming coup to overthrow the Botswana president, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
A Botswana newspaper, the Sunday Standard, published damning articles concerning Motsepe-Radebe and her alleged attempt to have Venson-Moitoi replace Masisi.
The Botswana government then placed a travel restriction on Motsepe-Radebe in which she had to first apply for a visa to enter the country.
Khama, however, defended Motsepe-Radebe, saying she simply trying to create unity between him and Masisi and not destabilise the country.