SA man imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea on his way home

2015-09-27 09:43

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Johannesburg - After almost three years Daniel Janse Van Rensburg's family can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he is returning home on Sunday after being imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea.

Van Rensburg is expected to land at OR Tambo International Airport between noon and 14:00 on Sunday, family spokesperson Fran Kirsten told News24.

"It's surreal for them [the family]. It's been the longest wait they have had now, [but] they know he's safe and they can't wait to see him," she said.

From Johannesburg Van Rensburg will take a connecting flight to George and was expected to be reunited with his wife Melanie and two children at around 18.40.

Aviation contract

Van Rensburg was meant to leave Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, but was blocked by men who were believed to be working for former Malabo mayor Gabriel Bela Angabi, who had accused him of stealing money.

According to a Sunday Times report last year, Van Rensburg was said to have had a dispute with Angabi over a R30m aviation contract. He was arrested when he flew to Malabo in 2013 to resolve the matter.

Angabi reportedly wanted R1m from Van Rensburg.

He had been imprisoned in Black Beach prison.

Kirsten said Van Rensburg had been released from prison about two or three weeks ago and the ban on him leaving the country was lifted at the airport.

The minister of justice had given him a letter stating that the ban had been lifted.

"So he arrived at the airport with personnel from the [South African] embassy armed with this letter stating he can now go, and just as he was entering customs Angabi's men surrounded him .

'Like a movie'

"He said it was very much like a movie. They just moved in, grabbed him by the arm, and said follow us to this little room," Kirsten said.

The room was the same place where he had always been re-arrested and thrown back in Black Beach prison, she added.

"He just said to the embassy staff 'if I go in there they are going to kill me', and they ran.

"They got him into the South African embassy where he was in hiding."

By Friday the embassy had arranged for Van Rensburg to fly out of Equatorial Guinea.

"[They were] very good to him apparently," said Kirsten.

By Saturday Van Rensburg was ready to leave Equatorial Guinea and he called to say he was getting VIP treatment at the airport and the manager had apologised to him.

"He then flew last night and he let us know he's safe in Addis Ababa and he is going to sleep.

"I think his mind is exhausted. When he was in hiding the last time he would WhatsApp me all the time and I would see... that he had been awake at 4am and 3am. So he definitely hasn't slept. The poor man is exhausted," said Kirsten.

Read more on:    equatorial guinea  |  west africa

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