Cops swoop on right-wingers

2010-05-08 00:00

SEVEN men believed to have ties with right-wing organisations appeared in the magistrate’s court in Phalaborwa yesterday on charges that include high treason.

Four of the men, from Phalaborwa, were arrested about three weeks ago while the other three were arrested earlier this week.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Musa Zondi said they have been charged with high treason, the illegal possession of explosives and the possession of unlicensed firearms. However, charges against two of the men were withdrawn yesterday.

National Commissioner of Police Bheki Cele said yesterday that a suspect who was arrested in Pretoria on April 12, after police discovered him to be in possession of an “arsenal of destruction”, has been released on bail for R10 000.

“He owns a farm somewhere outside of Gauteng,” Cele said. “We are monitoring all activity across the country and our investigations are going well.”

Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday, during a parliamentary information session, that this suspect was manufacturing weapons, weapon components and ammunition.

According to Mthethwa, the man was also planning to “plant explosives in black townships”.

With regard to the Phalaborwa case, Zondi said all charges against Hendrik Venter (21) and Albert Kruger (22) were withdrawn yesterday due to a lack of evidence.

Francois de Vos (36), also from Phalaborwa, was released on bail of R1 000. His arrest on April 22 followed the arrests of three men on April 19 after they allegedly vandalised the grave of Norman Mashabane (51), a former ambassador to Indonesia, who died in a car accident in 2007 outside Polokwane.

Police confiscated a 9 mm pistol with the series number filed away, ammunition for various weapons, home-made explosives equipment and two computers from the house of a fourth accused, Georgios Kiratzidis (21) of Phalaborwa.

Kiratzidis’s arrest led police to De Vos, Martin Vorster (19), Ruan Louw (21) and Andries Stroh (22), who was arrested this week.

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