Pandor asked to secure the release of SA’ers soon


Naledi Pandor, minister of international relations and cooperation, will travel to Equatorial Guinea over the weekend to try to persuade that country’s government to release two South African engineers.

Peter Huxham and Frik Potgieter have already been in custody in the country for almost 15 months on apparently bogus drug-related charges.

RNews previously reported that Huxham and Potgieter are each currently serving a 12-year prison sentence in a prison for political prisoners in Mongomo. Their loved ones at home insist they are innocent. They believe that Huxham and Potgieter only find themselves in the situation because of an international dispute between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea.

The two men were arrested on 9 February 2023 at their hotel in Malabo. They have been working for many years as engineers for a Dutch oil and gas company, Single Buoy Mooring (SBM), and were due to return home the next day.

Emma Louise Powell, the DA’s shadow minister for international relations, says the DA welcomes the news that Dirco is finally acting to secure the two’s release.

Huxham and Potgieter’s arrests are said to be related to the seizure of a superyacht and luxury properties in Cape Town belonging to Equatorial Guinea’s deputy president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.

On February 7, 2023, South African authorities seized two houses and a superyacht belonging to Mangue after a South African businessman sued him for illegal detention and torture. Daniel Janse van Rensburg was illegally detained and tortured for 491 days in a notorious prison in Equatorial Guinea after a business deal went wrong in 2013.

Huxham and Potgieter were arrested a few days after the seizures.

Powell says the “court case” held in Equatorial Guinea in June 2023 was a hoax. “There was no credible evidence by the public prosecutor. Moreover, Potgieter and Huxham did not have the opportunity to present their case.”

In addition to the 12-year prison sentence, the two men were also ordered to each pay a fine of $5 million (more than R93 million).

“Potgieter and Huxham’s illegal detention is a clear violation of human rights by the government of Equatorial Guinea,” adds Powell.

Pandor will visit the country on May 4 to negotiate with the government about the two men’s release.

“This intervention is long overdue,” says Powell. “We wish Minister Pandor all the best with these negotiations. We appeal to her office to keep the traumatized families of these engineers informed as the discussions progress.”