Hanekom re­ceiv­ing le­gal help from state

Pretoria News Weekend - - NATION - NONI MOKATI MEL FRYKBERG African News Agency

[email protected] THE Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion (Dirco) has re­it­er­ated that it will con­tinue of­fer­ing con­sular ser­vices to South African busi­ness­man An­dré Hanekom who is de­tained in Mozam­bique over charges of lead­ing a group of ex­trem­ists op­er­at­ing in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

Yes­ter­day, Dirco spokesper­son Ndi­vhuwo Mabaya said the min­istry was still re­spon­si­ble for aid­ing him with any le­gal help he re­quires. Hanekom and two other Tan­za­nian na­tion­als are fac­ing charge of mur­der, crimes against the state and in­cit­ing civil dis­obe­di­ence.

This week, Hanekom’s wife, Francis, de­nied that he had been in­volved in du­bi­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, say­ing that he was framed and that the ar­rests were part of at­tempts to dis­pos­sess him of his beach prop­erty in Mozam­bique.

How­ever, Mabaya said in light of the se­ri­ous charges Hanekom faces, the depart­ment, through South African High Com­mis­sioner to Mozam­bique Man­disi Mpahlwa, would keep a close eye on the court pro­ceed­ings.

“Ours is to en­sure that the case is fair and con­ducted (in an) ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner,” he said.

Ear­lier, Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu said: “The peo­ple of South Africa and Mozam­bique share a very deep po­lit­i­cal his­tory and very strong eco­nomic re­la­tions. It is not ac­cept­able that a South African cit­i­zen is in court for al­leged in­volve­ment in ex­treme ji­hadist ac­tiv­i­ties that re­sulted in loss of life. South African cit­i­zens should spread love and peace across the SADC area, con­ti­nent and the world.”

Mean­while, Mabaya also re­vealed that, over the fes­tive sea­son, Dirco had re­ceived up to six re­quests by in­di­vid­u­als for con­sular aid from many parts of the world. These, he said, ranged from peo­ple need­ing to speak to their fam­ily mem­bers to a per­son re­quest­ing that the depart­ment help with an ex­pired visa.

It’s been re­vealed that more than 800 South Africans are lan­guish­ing in pris­ons abroad.

Mabaya said South Africans needed to un­der­stand that Dirco’s abil­ity to help them was limited.

“If you are ar­rested in Lon­don to­day and need us to help you get in touch with your fam­ily or lawyer, we will ex­tend a phone line for those pur­poses. How­ever, over time we have re­ceived re­quests by some peo­ple in pris­ons abroad for us to bring their chil­dren to visit them, while oth­ers have asked for their tra­di­tional doc­tors to be trans­ported to where they are.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we don’t pro­vide those ser­vices,” he said.

Last year, South African and for­mer al-qaeda pris­oner Stephen Mcgowan warned that any­one who trav­elled out of the coun­try had to be vig­i­lant and not trust any­one. Mcgowan was speak­ing at Dirco head­quar­ters in Pre­to­ria where he marked one year since he was freed by the ex­trem­ist group in Au­gust 2017. AS VI­O­LENT protests over an ail­ing econ­omy and the rock­et­ing prices of ev­ery­day goods con­tinue across the coun­try, Su­dan’s se­cu­rity forces are crack­ing down on op­po­si­tion ac­tivists and crit­i­cal jour­nal­ists.

Many of those tar­geted have gone un­der­ground af­ter a wave of ar­rests on Thurs­day and ear­lier last week, the Su­dan Tri­bune re­ported.

Faisal Mo­hamed Salih, a jour­nal­ist and com­men­ta­tor as­so­ci­ated with the Su­danese Pro­fes­sional As­so­ci­a­tion, was taken from his of­fice in the cap­i­tal, Khar­toum, on Thurs­day by three se­cu­rity agents who said he was wanted at se­cu­rity ser­vice head­quar­ters.

Salih, a reg­u­lar critic of Khar­toum, won the Peter Mack­ler Award for Coura­geous and Eth­i­cal Jour­nal­ism in 2013, and had said on his Face­book page he was proud of the protests that erupted in Port Su­dan on Thurs­day.

Also net­ted in the se­cu­rity crack­down were for­mer for­eign min­is­ter Ibrahim Taha Ay­oub, Has­san Ab­del Atti, a for­mer pro­fes­sor at Khar­toum Uni­ver­sity, Mon­tasser al-tayeb, a lec­turer at Khar­toum Uni­ver­sity’s Fac­ulty of Medicine and jour­nal­ist Qureshi Awad from Al Mi­dan news­pa­per, or­gan of the Su­danese Com­mu­nist Party.

All four were crit­ics of the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Omar al-bashir. |

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