SA mum on al-Qaeda captive
The government will not be drawn into commenting on a desperate plea for help by a South African kidnapped in North Africa by al-Qaeda members.
The refusal to comment comes as Stephen Malcolm, who has dual South African and British citizenship, was aired on Al Jazeera.
He pleaded for government involvement in his freedom.
"The South African government, along with its British counterpart, are not commenting on this matter," said Clayson Monyela, spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, yesterday.
Malcolm, along with Netherlands citizen Sjaak Rijke and Swedish national Johan Gustafsson, were seized in November while walking along a street in the Malian town of Timbuktu.
A fourth person in the group was killed when they were taken hostage.
A photograph on Al Jazeera's website shows the men, all sporting long beards and wearing traditional clothes, sitting on rugs surrounded by masked gunmen dressed in black.
The three men - who appeared in good condition in the broadcasted video - pleaded for assistance from their respective governments this week.
The kidnapping took place weeks before secular and Islamist rebels, some with links to al-Qaeda, took up arms against Mali's government.
The insurgents later took advantage of the chaos surrounding a March coup to take control of the country's desert north.
In a video seen by Reuters in July, the three men appeared before a flag similar to the one used by Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine which, along with al-Qaeda faction Mujwa, now controls two-thirds of Mali's desert north, territory that includes Timbuktu.
Al-Qaeda in North Africa said in December it had carried out the kidnapping.
It has also said it was holding six Frenchmen - two abducted from their hotel in the northern Mali town of Hombori in November, the other four kidnapped in September 2010 in neighbouring Niger.