Witness ‘recruited to terrorise blacks’

2011-05-09 14:55

A state witness has told the Phalaborwa circuit court that two men, accused of planning to bomb ANC leaders’ homes and terrorise townships, had recruited him into their operation, the SABC reported.

Testifying on the first day of the trial, Dirkie Breytenbach identified the two as being among the three accused sitting in the dock.

Breytenbach, who was one of two accused that turned state witness, explained that “Operation Pet Shop” was designed to attack black people in and around Phalaborwa.

The three accused, Georgios Kiratzidis (21), Martinus Vorster (19) and Ruan Louw (21) allegedly planned to bomb homes of ANC leaders, buses transporting blacks and plant bombs in townships. They face multiple charges ranging from conspiracy to engage in terrorist activities, illegal manufacturing and possession of explosives, to the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the accused were out on extended bail: Kiratzidis on R100?000 and Vorster and Louw each on R80?000.

“They have surrendered their passports and are also reporting at Phalaborwa police station on a weekly basis.”

A sixth person initially charged with them appeared separately in court last year. Francois de Vos (35) pleaded guilty in October to vandalising the grave of South Africa’s former ambassador to Indonesia Norman Mashabane. De Vos was sentenced to one year in prison or a R2?000 fine. At the time he told the Phalaborwa Magistrates Court he was drunk when he and six others committed the crime.

Charges against a seventh man, Andre Stroh (24), were withdrawn. He pleaded guilty in September last year to a charge of possession of ammunition. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years.

The trial was set down until May 28.

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