Pandor must ensure swift release of detained engineers – Emma Powell

DA MP wishes Minister well with negotiations with Equatorial Guinea

DA calls on Pandor to ensure swift release of detained engineers

2 May 2024

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the news that after 15 months of silence, DIRCO is finally taking action to secure the release of South African engineers unlawfully incarcerated in Equatorial Guinea.

Frik Potgieter and Peter Huxham, both engineers working for a Dutch company in the region, were arrested at their hotel in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on February 9, 2023, a night before they were due to fly back to South Africa.

Their arrests, based on trumped up drug trafficking charges, are widely believed to be in retaliation for the seizure of luxury properties and a super yacht belonging to Equatorial Guinea's Vice-President, Teodore Nguema Obiang Mangue (Teddy), who also happens to be the son of the President. The super yacht was seized by the Sheriff, just two days prior to their arrest.

The ‘court case’ held in June 2023 in Equatorial Guinea, was a sham; no credible evidence was presented by the prosecution, and Potgieter and Huxham were not given an opportunity to present their case.

They received a 12-year prison sentence each, and are being held in a prison in Mongomo, reserved for political prisoners. They were also ordered to pay USD $5 million each in damages, and additional fines to be shared between them.

Potgieter and Huxham's unlawful detention is a clear breach of human rights by the government of Equatorial Guinea.

On Saturday 4 May 2024, Minister Naledi Pandor will be visiting Equatorial Guinea to begin negotiating the release of these engineers.

This intervention is long overdue.

The DA wishes Minister Pandor well with these negotiations, and calls on her Office to keep the traumatised families of these engineers updated as discussions progress.

Issued by Emma Louise Powell, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, 2 May 2024