2 more Boeremag members guilty

2012-08-14 18:34
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Pretoria - Two more Boeremag members, Dr Lets Pretorius and Jurie Vermeulen, were found guilty of high treason on Tuesday, bringing to 13 the number of convicted members.

Pretorius was named "medical commander" in Boeremag leader Mike du Toit's "war plan" for a rightwing coup to overthrow the ANC government.

He was also part of a convoy on its way to plant bombs in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging areas in September 2002.

The mission was abandoned because police got wind of the plan.

According to the evidence, Pretorius had ordered two paramedics who worked for him to accompany the convoy in case of injuries, but the paramedics went into hiding because their wives refused to let them go.

Judge Eben Jordaan rejected Pretorius' claim that the so-called "D-Day" convoy had been an innocent exercise and that he knew nothing about a plan to overthrow the government.

He said it was highly unlikely that Pretorius' three sons, who described themselves as soldiers of the "South African Boer Republic" and asked to be declared prisoners of war, would not have told him of their plans.

Jordaan said Pretorius had been aware of the masses of weapons, ammunition, petrol, cylinder bombs, and 23 buckets filled with explosives being loaded onto a truck and bakkies before the convoy left that day.

He had also been present when the goods were unloaded at the accused Herman van Rooyen's farm after the mission was called off.

Jordaan said one only had to look at photos of what was found at Van Rooyen's farm to see why the court did not believe Pretorius.

He said it was clear Pretorius had lied to police after his arrest when he told them the truck had been stolen.

By then he knew police had found the truck full of arms and ammunition and some of his personal possessions in Lichtenburg.

Pretorius testified that he had been "98% sure" that a huge black-on-white attack, referred to as "the night of the long knives", was going to take place, but had left his medical supplies and family behind.

Jordaan said if he was so concerned about an eminent attack he would have warned more people, such as his staff and members of his church.

He rejected Vermeulen's evidence that he had attended numerous Boeremag meetings "under fear and duress" because he feared he would be shot if he withdrew.

Vermeulen's claims that he knew nothing about a coup plan were also rejected.

Jordaan said Vermeulen had willingly sworn an oath of allegiance to the Boeremag's cause and had willingly attended meetings at which the coup was discussed and the terrorist acts were planned.

Vermeulen would not have been given the rank of major in the Boeremag's army if he was not involved.

It was highly unlikely that the Boeremag's inner circle would have harboured an "ignoramus" in their midst, Jordaan said.

Judgment continues.

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