ZIMBABWEAN businessman Frank Buyanga incarcerated in South Africa has launched a fresh bid in the High Court to avert extradition to his home country. Buyanga has been in a Johannesburg prison since November and launched his new application Monday, seeking to block his possible extradition to Zimbabwe.
He has been at loggerheads with his former girlfriend, Chantelle Muteswa, contesting custody of their minor son for years. A warrant of arrest was issued against him after he took his son to South Africa following a landmark ruling that gave parents with children outside of wedlock equal access to their children.
In his application, Buyanga said he fears he will be unfairly treated in Zimbabwe, insinuating judiciary interference. He alleges Muteswa has close ties with the Zimbabwe First family.
The application reads: “I mention in passing that Ms Muteswa has abused her close connections to the First Family in Zimbabwe to use ZRP to lay the charges of kidnapping and robbery and to illegally procure the authorisation of the warrant of arrest that is relied upon in the extradition request.”
He further claimed Muteswa is in a relationship with one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sons.
“I reserve the right to disclose his name should the need arise,” he said. The businessman is seeking an order declaring the extradition warrant unlawful. Buyanga also wants the hearing at the Randburg magistrate court to be discontinued and set aside for lack of jurisdiction.
In his founding affidavit, Buyanga said South Africa has no extradition treaty with Zimbabwe. Buyanga was arrested on November 10 on the back of a warrant issued in his home country. Initially, he was granted R150 000 bail but was arrested immediately after on separate charges of contravening the Immigration Act.
The businessman filed another bail application, which the court dismissed. He has been in custody since then. Buyanga argues he is being held on a non-extraditable offence. The application reads: “I am further advised that contempt of court is not an extraditable offence in terms of the SADC Protocol on Extradition as read with Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)(chapter 9:23) Act of Zimbabwe.
“I am therefore advised and believe the advice to be correct: to the extent that the sentence for contempt of court in Zimbabwe is a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both, it follows that no request for my extradition should have been made relying upon the alleged contempt charges.
“To that extent, I have advised the extradition request by the government of Zimbabwe was irreparably defective.”
The Randburg Magistrate Court will hold an inquiry in terms of sections 9 and 10 of the Extradition Act.
However, Buyanga says: “Because I was prima facie arrested unlawfully, the Randburg magistrate court cannot lawfully exercise its jurisdiction over me. By extension, it cannot, therefore, purport to hold an extradition inquiry that is premised on my unlawful arrest.
“To that extent, the legality of the extradition inquiry is equally tainted.
“I there humbly request that this honourable court ought to review and set aside the warrant of arrest on which I was arrested on 10 November 2022, because it was applied for and authorised improperly.”