DRC Government expels controversial mining entrepeneur

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) acted Thursday to enforce a persona non grata order against Billy Rautenbach, the Zimbabwean entrepreneur. He was arrested in Katanga Province and subsequently deported to Zimbabwe.

A press statement from Moise Katumbe Chapwe, Governor of Katanga, said “Rautenbach had amassed a large number of mineral and other assets in the DRC during the civil war and subsequently. 

“The Government of the DRC is making strenuous efforts to clean up the mining sector in the country, and has taken seriously South African charges of fraud, corruption and other crimes against Rautenbach. Rautenbach was informed that he was persona non grata by the Interior Ministry in Kinshasa on July 17. A press briefing from CAMEC [the company of which Rautenbach is a major shareholder, and which absorbed many of the assets acquired by Rautenbach in this period] contested the validity of the persona non grata order, and reported that Rautenbach, in spite of the order, had entered the DRC. The authorities discovered that he had indeed entered on a private aircraft.  He was detained by the Katanga provincial authorities on July 18, and has been deported on July 19.”

Governor Moise Katumbe Chapwe commented: “The DRC  Government wishes to make it clear that it will exercise and enforce its sovereign laws and rights. The country is emerging from civil war, after decades of arbitrary government under the Mobutu regime. The democratically elected Government of President Joseph Kabila will enforce and protect the rule of law. We need to make it clear to the world that, even if we have as yet no extradition facilities in place, we will not continue to allow such people to operate in the DRC with impunity. We will not tolerate individuals to operate with apparent protected status, in defiance of government.”