Former hostage celebrates small victory
A Garden Route businessman celebrated his second year of freedom on Tuesday 26 September after his release from the notorious Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea. Daniel Janse van Rensburg, from Hoekwil in Wilderness, was held illegally for two years after a business deal went sour.
He learned this week that a small portion of his legal costs, which is running to well over R1-million, has been paid for by the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, Theodorin Nguema Obiang. It was touch and go or the assets of an upmarket Cape Town property belonging to Obiang went under the hammer after he lost a part of a legal battle with Janse van Rensburg. Obiang owns properties in Bishopscourt and Clifton.
According to Janse van Rensburg’s lawyer Errol Elsdon, an amount just short of R180 000 was paid by Obiang on 15 September. “We are busy with another cost order,” said Elsdon. In addition, Janse van Rensburg filed a civil suit in the Western Cape High Court almost two years ago, in December 2015, suing the Equatorial Guinea government for R75-million in compensation after his wrongful imprisonment. He is awaiting judgement on his civil claim.
Obiang was head of defence and security during Janse van Rensburg’s detention and is the political head in charge of the armed forces, police, prisons and detention facilities. In court papers, Janse van Rensburg stated that Obiang’s conduct in ordering his detention and failing to order his release caused him (Janse van Rensburg) damages Obiang was liable for.
Janse van Rensburg spent two years in and out of prison amid claims by businessman and politician Gabriel Bela Angabi that he owed him R1-million. Janse van Rensburg assisted him in establishing an airline in the country. Despite being cleared by a local court of any wrongdoing, Janse van Rensburg was still detained. Embassy staff, his lawyer and various other government departments finally assisted him in leaving the country on 26 September 2015.
He was jailed at Black Beach in Malabo for a total of 423 days and was kept under house arrest in the country for a further 126 days. While in prison, Janse van Rensburg said he had lived like “an animal in a cage”, being fed food not fit for human consumption, being intimidated by other inmates and suffering disease, including malaria.
Daniel Janse van Rensburg