Former South African politician Sexwale arrested in New York

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami

Prominent South African businessman and anti-apartheid stalwart, Tokyo Sexwale has been arrested in New York after his name was on a list of people banned from entering the United States, the South African Broadcasting Corporation,SABC said on Sunday, citing his lawyer.

Sexwale, a rival of President Jacob Zuma who was ousted as housing minister in a cabinet reshuffle in July, was arrested at John F Kennedy International Airport while on a business trip, SABC said, citing Lesley Mkhabela

Some anti-apartheid activists were banned from visiting the United States during apartheid, which ended in 1994. The ban has been lifted but not all the names have been removed from the list, Mkhabela told the SABC.

“He has instructed us to take the matter up with the authorities of the US so we will address the letter to the U.S. Embassy in South Africa,” Mkhabela was quoted as saying on the broadcaster’s website.

No one was immediately available for comment at Mkhabela’s law firm. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Alongside former President Nelson Mandela, Sexwale spent years in South Africa’s Robben Island prison for his opposition to white-minority rule.

A charismatic politician, Sexwale later became a leading member of the ruling African National Congress and an influential businessman, founding the investment firm Mvelaphanda Group.

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