South Africa

Court sets aside Masutha's decision to extradite Mozambique's Manuel Chang

Court sets aside Masutha's decision to extradite Mozambique's Manuel Chang

Pretoria - The South Gauteng High Court on Friday set aside a decision taken by the former justice minister, Michael Masutha, to extradite Manuel Chang to Mozambique.

In December 2018, Chang was apprehended in South Africa following an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement, during his tenure as Mozambique’s finance minister, in fraudulent activity relating to loans of USD $2 billion promised to Mozambique. 

South Africa received separate requests for the extradition and surrender of Chang to the United States of America and Mozambique. In May 2019, Masutha took the decision to extradite Chang to Mozambique. It was also Chang’s wish to be extradited to his home country. 

Current Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, and the Forum de Monitoria do Orcamento, a non-governmental organisation based in Mozambique took the former minister’s decision on review. 

The Helen Suzman Foundation who joined the matter as friends of the court argued that taking into account South Africa’s constitutional and international law obligations, it was unlawful, irrational and unconstitutional for the former Minister to take the decision to extradite Chang to Mozambique. 

The court said Masutha did not have the power to extradite Chang to Mozambique because he enjoyed immunity in Mozambique at the time the decision was made. It was also stated that it would make no sense to extradite a person to a place where he cannot be prosecuted.

African News Agency (ANA)