By Kouthar Sambo
Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers announced the unconditional release of South African paramedic Gerco van Deventer on Sunday.
Speaking on VOC’s Drive Time on Monday, Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said the situation was complex because there was no ransom money, which resulted in the stalling of the process.
“Gift of the Givers does not pay ransom but acts as a facilitator on behalf of distraught families wanting to bring home their loved ones. There is no fee for our intervention,” explained Sooliman.
At the request of the family, Gift of the Givers intervened in 2018, with the initial request being 3 million USD.
“Over some time, we negotiated the amount down to 500k USD. The family could not afford the ransom, there was no benefactor, and the company that Gerco had just commenced work for could not assist,” detailed Gift of the Givers.
Most families that we deal with left the country for more earnings, elaborated Sooliman, and they were held captive somewhere else in the process.
“So they do not have the means to pay for the release and when you do not have ransom money, the process can take long. Six years and one month are the longest in South African history,” reiterated Sooliman.
Sooliman added that the South African State Security confirmed on Saturday night that Algerian State Security called to inform them that Gerco is freed, is with them, and taken to hospital for a health review.
“That was the last I heard on the situation, I have not been able to contact him, and I am not sure where he is, but this was confirmed to me. The man we spoke to said he is the one who facilitated the unconditional release,” added Sooliman.
Photo: Gift of the Givers/Facebook