Top soldier convicted in Boeremag trial

2012-08-01 17:01
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Pretoria - Another Boeremag member was convicted of high treason by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Colonel Magiel Burger, a former training officer at the Lohatlha military base in the Northern Cape, was the sixth of the 20 Boeremag accused to be found guilty.

Handing down judgment, Judge Eben Jordaan said Boeremag leader Mike du Toit and his brother Andre were not planning a Sunday school picnic, but a coup when they travelled 700km to meet Burger in September 2001.

Burger met the two only once.

However, afterwards his name appeared in several places in a revised version of Mike du Toit's war plan, known as Document 12, for a violent rightwing coup.

The judge rejected Burger's claims that they had discussed only area protection at the meeting and not a coup.

Burger was tasked in Document 12 with taking over the Lohatlha and Kimberley military bases during the coup.

According to evidence, he had also undertaken to draw up a plan to take over Lohatlha under the guise of planning a military exercise.

He was tasked with preparing military vehicles and equipment for the coup and was mentioned as someone who could get military explosives to blow up power lines.

Police agent JC Smit testified that Burger had told the others that what they were planning could cost him his career, but that it did not matter.

This was at a meeting at the home of fellow-accused Major Jacques Olivier.

He had also referred to himself as a Boer and a patriot.

Respect

Police agent Colonel Koos Labuschagne testified that he was so concerned about Burger's name being mentioned in connection with a coup that he made an anonymous call to Burger, warning him to stop all further contact with rightwingers.

Labuschagne had undergone training under Burger in the 1980s and respected him as an officer.

Burger described Document 12 as a "flight of fantasy" drawn up by someone "who was not very intelligent" and "had no knowledge whatsoever" of revolutionary warfare.

He said he had no knowledge of the coup plot and it had never been discussed with him.

He insisted that he had reported the conversation to his superiors and called witnesses to support this version.

Jordaan found that a coup had been discussed, that Burger was a willing participant and that he had never reported the plot to anyone.

He had reported only a watered-down version of a meeting with members of "an extremist church" and the possibility that weapons might be stolen at Lohatlha, possibly to keep a back door open for himself.

The judge said that although Burger had more than one opportunity to report his conversation with the Du Toits to the police, he had not mentioned it, not even after being confronted with his name in Document 12.

This fact alone made him guilty of treason, Jordaan concluded.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mike du toit
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