Abducted Christo Bothma's family seek help to find him
Officials from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation have been working with the Burkina Faso government to find Bothma, kidnapped with two other people.
According to the family, one of the other people was a local driver and the other the son of the chief executive of the mining company that employed Bothma as a technical director.
For a while, the family opted to remain mum on the matter and trusted relevant authorities to find and negotiate Bothma’s safe return.
However, with weeks passing without evident promising development, the family’s hopes began running thin. Bothma lived with his two sons and two daughters with wife Amanda. His mother, Brenda, recently turned 75.
He has two older daughters, an infant grandson and an ex-wife, Marinda du Preez, who live in Faerie Glen. Bothma lives in Potchefstroom.
His daughter Irmari van Staen said: “He has been gone for so long and no one is keeping us updated. We don’t know if he is dead or alive and to make matters worse, on November 9 we received fake news that he was fine and was coming home.
“We were happy and celebrated and then we discovered it was fake news. That made the whole thing more stressful.
“We did not want to talk about this to the media because we did not want people to sensationalise the whole story. We saw one news article that contained a lot of incorrect information - the information didn’t even come from the family.”
Du Preez said she last spoke to Bothma on September 20 and he was excited about the trip. He had planned to visit Pretoria to spend time with his daughters and grandson.
The family is working to help find Bothma and has been receiving the assistance of an expert in Burkina Faso, who helped other people get released and returned to their countries.
The man has already given a letter from the family to the president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. He is hoping to see the president later this week. The family said they had been so desperate for help they had tried to approach the Burkina Faso embassy to ask for help.
Spokesperson for the department Ndivhuwo Mabaya said South African diplomats were working with Burkina Faso law enforcement agencies to resolve the matter. “We believe a breakthrough is coming.”
He said challenges faced included the large size of the land, porous borders and the presence of rebel groups.