Mmegi political reporter, Tsaone Basimanebotlhe has filed an urgent application seeking the release of her personal cellular phone, a week after being harassed by the security personal.
Basimanebotlhe was on or about July 16, 2019, indisposed and home at Lenganeng Block 4 ward in Tlokweng when four detectives from Broadhurst Police Station and Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Services ambushed her with a warrant of entry, search and seizure issued by Magistrate Thandi Baleseng on July 19, 2019.
In her founding affidavit, Basimanebotlhe who is also seeking to stay the execution of the order, said the mean-looking and uncompromising officers forced their way into her living room and demanded that she produce my phones and computers.
The officers explained to her that their mission was in relation to the ex-spy chief, Isaac Kgosi’s case in which he is being accused of exposing agents of the DIS to the public.
Basimanebotlhe has also revealed in her affidavit that there was nothing linking her to the former spy chief nor even the said pictures.
“The affidavit of which the Botswana Police Service relied upon for their warrant is completely lacking in sustaining any reasonable ground of suspicion that I may be in possession or associated with any evidence or wrongdoing to warrant the issuing of the warrant of entry, search and seizure,” she said.
On the urgency part, she has submitted that amongst other things, her constitutional rights to protection against deprivation of property and protection for privacy of home and other property have been infringed and consequently rendering the matter urgent.
She explained that the process of the respondents in obtaining the warrant and the manner in which such warrant was effected on her was unlawful.
“I wish to highlight moreover that not only is the process of obtaining the warrant unlawful but I was effectively denied access to my belongings. I am a journalist by profession, my phone is very important in that I use it daily for work. I am contacted on the said phone by individuals whenever there is an story that I would need to cover,” she said.
She pointed that the continued detention of her phone was preventing her from adequately performing her job and similarly putting her at risk of the severe consequences of failing to adequately perform at work.
In addition to the warrant obtained still standing lawfully, she said that she was at serious risk of losing access to her laptop and computers due to the warrant.
“At any moment, the Police could appear at my house or place of employment and confiscate more property from me and disadvantaging me further in terms of my constitutional rights and ability to do my work as a journalist,” she argued.
Karabo Masuku of Bayford and Associates represents Basimanebotlhe