SA’ers in Equatorial Guinea’s families plead with government: ‘Intervene’

Henry

Peter Huxham and Frik Potgieter’s loved ones have only one wish and that is that they will be home this Christmas.

These two South African engineers are currently serving prison terms in Equatorial Guinea on drug-related charges. However, Huxham and Potgieter’s loved ones are convinced of their innocence and insist the charges against them are false.

They are now again pleading with the South African government to intervene so that Huxham and Potgieter can come home. After all, they say it is part of the government’s mandate and responsibilities to assist and protect its citizens.

“It has been more than nine months since Frik and Peter were arrested on false charges and there is no sign that the South African government is getting any closer to securing their release,” says Francois Nigrini, spokesperson for the Huxham- family.

According to Nigrini, earlier this year there were a few productive meetings with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), but since August there has been dead silence.

“As the families of these two innocent men, we need to know what progress is being made regarding efforts to get these guys back home.”

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.

RNews previously reported that South African authorities seized two houses and a superyacht belonging to Mangue on February 7 after a South African businessman sued him for illegal arrest 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.

“The reason why we need our government to intervene is because this is an entirely political matter that can only be resolved through a political solution,” says Shaun Murphy, spokesperson for the Potgieter family.

“Peter and Frik are innocent bystanders caught up in matters that have nothing to do with them. Can you imagine how utterly helpless and distressed they must feel?”

Murphy says Peter and Frik’s families are desperate by now.

“Christmas is around the corner – a very important time for these deeply Christian families – but without Frik and Peter at home it will be almost impossible for the families to enjoy the celebration (of Christmas).”

Huxham, from Langebaan on the West Coast, and Potgieter, from George in the Western Cape, were arrested at different times at the Anda China hotel in Malabo on 9 February this year after the police believe drugs were found in Potgieter’s and Huxham’s luggage. found their hotel rooms; these allegations are not true at all as the police apparently did not even seize the luggage.

The two men 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.

Potgieter and Huxham worked in different departments of the company at that stage and were just acquaintances.