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Korkie's fate hangs in the balance

Pierre Korkie faces execution if a R32m ransom isn't paid to al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen by Saturday.

Yolande Korkie attends a press conference in Johannesburg after being held captive in Yemen on 16 January 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The life of a 53-year-old Bloemfontein teacher hangs in the balance.

Pierre Korkie is being held hostage by al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen.

Korkie and his wife, Yolande, were taken captive last May.

His wife was released last week after local non-governmental organisation, Gift of the Givers, intervened in the drama.

Pierre faces execution if a ransom of R32 million isn't paid by Saturday.

Gift of the Givers founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, says negotiations are at an impasse.

"The talks have deadlocked. On Monday night when we went back to talk to them, they were not as calm as when we secured Yolande's release."

Yolande has described being set free without her husband as the worst moment of her life.

Yolande Korkie was released by the terror group last week after intense negotiations.

Yolande broke down at a briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday as she recalled the moment militants freed her without her husband.

"Apart from the day of the kidnapping, to be separated from Pierre in that way was the worst moment of my life."

She appeared exhausted and emotional at the briefing, but said her husband helped the people of Yemen.

"He taught English to the Yemenis and he taught at a non-government organisation. He also encouraged the Yemenis to take responsibility for their lives."

Yolande has asked the militants to free her husband as she cannot raise enough of the ransom before the deadline expires.