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The Guptas would not be landing in South Africa any time soon.
Although the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties were ratified recently, lengthy judicial processes in the United Arab Emirates as well as the lack of political will may add years to the wait.
According to the online portal of the UAE, extradition is governed by their federal law and by the extradition treaties signed and ratified by the country.
South Africa would have to make a request to extradite suspects, then the relevant department in the UAE would refer the request to the public prosecutor after verifying that it meets all the formal requirements.
A court will then issue a reasoned decision on eligibility for extradition in accordance with the law, and extradition will not be granted unless a decision has been issued by the courts.
The public prosecutor and the person to be surrendered may appeal the court decision within 30 days, either from the date of the court's decision, if issued in the presence of the parties, or from the date of notification of the person to be surrendered if the decision was issued in absentia.
The extradition will only be enforced only after the extradition order has been finalised.
In a media briefing on Friday, National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi said an exact timeline could not be put on the extradition processes but “it will take some time”.
Batohi explained that, in general, once the suspects were arrested abroad, legal processes would have to take place in that country first, as explained above.
Then a political process would follow where the country’s executive would decide if they will surrender the suspects to South Africa for prosecution.
“It depends on political will,” Batohi said.
All in all, the Guptas are not expected on the next flight to South Africa.