Still no new news about Gerco van Deventer’s arrival in SA


There is still no indication of exactly when Gerco van Deventer, who has been held as a hostage for more than six years, will arrive in South Africa.

Gift of the Givers said in a statement on Tuesday that they are still waiting for the South African State Security Agency (SVA) to provide further details about Van Deventer’s extradition.

The organization therefore appealed to the media and members of the public to leave Van Deventer’s wife, Shereen, in peace. “It is a very anxious and difficult time for her and she will later speak to the media when her husband is released.”

Van Deventer was held by terrorists in Mali for more than six years, but could not be released there because of a war between Mali militants and the Tuaregs. He was therefore released in Algeria where he received, among other things, medical care.

Since then, Gift of the Givers has not received any new information about Van Deventer’s condition, says Sooliman.

“Gift of the Givers is aware that journalists are very anxious for an update on Gerco van Deventer. . . but the State Security Agency does not provide ongoing information on such cases and does not comment either,” says dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, chairman of the non-governmental organization.

It was the SVA that initially broke the news about Van Deventer’s release.

Members of Gift of the Givers received a call from a reliable intermediary on Saturday evening that Van Deventer had been released in Algeria.

According to Sooliman, it is a standing policy worldwide for state security agencies not to comment on their doings.

“We understand it that way and wait patiently for any announcement at the right time.”

Intermediaries were able to confirm that Van Deventer was in good health at the time of his release.

“All the videos shared by them (intermediaries) over the past year have shown that Gerco looks good from a physical point of view. But determining his emotional and psychological state is another matter,” says Sooliman.

Sooliman further speculated and said possible reasons why no further information is being provided about Van Deventer could be because he is still in hospital, receiving psychological treatment to prepare him for the reunion with his family and making arrangements for his trip to South Africa.

“This is a very unusual case. Usually notice is given in advance of a release and arrangements can then be made. In Van Deventer’s case, it (the release) was sudden, unexpected and not through Mali, where his release was originally expected,” says Sooliman.

Van Deventer will also be questioned by the authorities in Algeria in the presence of a South African representative.

Shereen told Mariska Nanni on Monday that neither she nor her family are currently granting any interviews.