Pretoria - While preparations are under way for a massive civil suit against government for the wrongful arrest and detention of 20 Congolese nationals, five of those families are picking up the pieces and mending broken relationships after the fathers were released from custody on Friday.
Pretoria High Court judge Billy Mothle on Friday acquitted the last five of the 20 men arrested on charges of plotting to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), saying the State had failed to prove the men’s intention to carry out the crime.
They were arrested on a farm in Limpopo on February 5, 2013, after a clandestine operation which included infiltrating meetings and communication between the men and undercover police officers.
The State had presented evidence and witnesses to support claims of a plot to kill President Joseph Kabila, senior officials and other prominent members of DRC society.
Judge Mothle released 15 of the men last November, after the State’s case against them crumbled, and on Friday the wives of some of the remaining five spoke about the hardships of the past two years (and 13 days) and the rift created within their families.