The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) said on Thursday it will intervene as a friend of the court to ensure that regional corrupt actors do not escape accountability and that South African officials are not complicit in helping them do so.
On Wednesday, the South African Constitutional Court dismissed an appeal by the Mozambican government against a 2021 High Court judgment which found that South Africa’s decision to extradite former Mozambican Finance Minister and Member of Parliament Manuel Chang to Mozambique in 2018 was unlawful.
HSF says Chang must now be extradited to and be prosecuted in the US for allegedly defrauding Mozambicans of about $2-billion in development loans extended by American investors.
The HSF said while the judgment represented a significant moment in civil society’s efforts to combat corruption in Southern Africa, the Mozambicans who Chang is alleged to have robbed cannot be forgotten as their loss, measured in opportunities missed at the hands of a corrupt government, will go uncompensated whatever Chang’s fate.
“Their untold stories serve as a reminder that the cost of corruption is borne most profoundly by those most vulnerable and that civil society’s efforts to hold corrupt actors to account should never rest,” it said.
The foundation noted that the Constitutional Court’s decision marked the end of long‑running litigation, led by Forum De Monitoria Do Orçamento, on behalf of Mozambican civil society, that challenged successive decisions by South Africa to extradite Chang to Mozambique, despite his prior political office rendering him immune from prosecution there.