Africa / 13 December 2015, 2:11pm / Yolande Stander
Cape Town - While Garden Route resident Daniel Janse van Rensburg believes nothing can reverse the horrors he experienced while held in Equatorial Guinea’s notorious Black Beach Prison, he hopes for some compensation.
The 49-year-old Wilderness businessman this week filed a civil suit in the Western Cape High Court suing the Equatorial Guinea government for R75 million in compensation for wrongful imprisonment.
He is applying for an order to attach properties in South Africa owned by that country’s president’s son.
These include homes – worth R50m – in Bischopscourt and Clifton.
Janse van Rensburg was reunited with his family in September after spending about two years in and out of the prison there amid claims by Equatorial Guinea businessman and politician Gabriel Bela Angabi that he owed him R1m after Janse van Rensburg assisted him in establishing an airline in the country.
He was cleared by a local court of any wrongdoing, but was still detained due to what Janse van Rensburg believes was Angabi’s influence.
He was jailed for 423 days at Black Beach in Malabo and was kept under house arrest in the country for a further 126 days.
“At the time of all of this I was working on four different (business) contracts, which I lost due to my illegal imprisonment,” Janse van Rensburg said.
As he is the only breadwinner, his detention took a major financial toll on his family.
Janse van Rensburg suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome but cannot afford to seek professional help.
“Obiang ordered my detention (in September 2013) and failed to order my release. His conduct has caused me damages for which he is liable. To recover my damages, I am left no alternative but to proceed against him in South Africa,” Janse van Rensburg said in court documents.
In an affidavit Van Rensburg referred to his loss of freedom, “inhumane and degrading treatment” he suffered, the impairment of his dignity and humanity; the illnesses he contracted while in detention; psychological trauma and permanent inability to work again.
Janse van Rensburg said while in prison 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.
He said while no money could reverse the impact of the ordeal on him and his family, he hoped the civil suit would bring some financial relief.
Janse van Rensburg was doing well physically, but said psychologically he was a broken man. “Every now and then I smell something or hear something which takes me back to the nightmare ordeal. I don’t know how these things work, but I also suffer from memory loss. ”
He said he was also not well enough to build his business back up.
“For now my family and I need to heal some of the wounds this caused. I’m looking forward to Christmas as I’ve missed two with them.”
Garden Route Media
Use IOL’s Facebook and Twitter pages to comment on our stories. See links below.