Madiba vandals on violence rap

2011-07-20 00:00

PRETORIA — Six members of the so-called Reconnaissance Movement (Verkennersbeweging) arrested for replacing former president Nelson Mandela’s name on street signs in Pretoria with that of rightwing assassin Clive Derby-Lewis, were charged with public violence yesterday.

Their lawyer, Marius Coertze, told the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court the charge is “absurd”.

“They did not commit any violence. It was a demonstation of freedom of speech,” said Coertze, who is also the jailed Derby-Lewis’s attorney.–

The six were also charged with malicious damage to property and contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

Ben Geldenhuys (38) and Jan Beyers (31), the president and treasurer respectively of the Verkennersbeweging, Ewald Graefe (30), Cobus Pretorius (25), Tommy Harmse (33) and Rian Combrink (27) were released on bail of R1 000 each.

Harmse is a police reservist and Combrink is studying theology.

When they were arrested on Sunday night the men told police they were members of the Afrikaans Protestant Church.

They were caught on CCTV and still had stickers bearing Derby-Lewis’s name in their possession.

Derby-Lewis (75) is serving a life sentence for the murder of Chris Hani, who was the secretary-general of the SA Communist Party.

Alwyn de Klerk, secretary of the Verkennersbeweging, said in a statement the “Friends of Clive” decided to stage their protest under the banner of freedom of speech so that Derby-Lewis could also have “justice and freedom”.

Said prosecutor Sipho Letsoalo, “They planned the action to coinicide with the birthday of the icon, Nelson Mandela. It would have led to public violence,”

Coertze said there was no violence, the signs were not damaged by the stickers and a streetname sign does not fall under the definition of a road sign in the Road Traffic Act.

“The men put the name of their folk hero over the name of the folk hero of other people,” he said.

“The purpose was to make boere think of heroes like Clive and General Koos de la Rey. We also want our heroes,” he added.

The case was postponed until next month. 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.