Suspect trio in court over plot to bomb churches

2011-11-29 00:00

MOOKGOPHONG (Naboomspruit) — The “FBI and Hawks” have already questioned them, “but 99,9% of the charges” against them are fabricated, three suspected far-rightwingers said in the magistrate’s court yesterday.

Juan van Zyl (48), Günter Jurgens Kotze (31) and Thomas James “TJ” Stickling (49) appeared in court on charges of arson and the possession of dangerous weapons.

Van Zyl and Stickling are from Rustenburg.

Kotze, who attended the court proceedings barefoot, damaged a Voortrekker monument in eMalahleni (Witbank) earlier this year because it apparently looked like “Satan’s penis” to him.

The three men were arrested on Friday morning after allegedly setting two tents alight on a farm outside the town, where the Boerebevrydingsfront (BBF) runs a training school for farm guards.

Heinrich Muller of the BBF has said that the three men “were on their own mission”. The BBF previously turned them away because they did not pass the selection test, “and then they planned a revenge attack. We are a registered training institution that specifically trains white men to do farm security work.”

The police took possession of several home-made weapons, including swords and batons, and bulletproof jackets and camouflage dress.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the police suspect the men of wanting to blow up Dutch Reformed churches in Mookgophong and Mokopane (Potgietersrus). The police apparently have evidence that the men hold extreme right-wing political views.

There was much confusion early yesterday morning when the police transported the three men from Mookgophong to the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court, just to be told they have to appear in court in Mookgophong after all.

Stickling said in court he fears that Van Zyl and Kotze will kill him.

Kotze told magistrate Yusuf Tayob in reply that “Mr Stickling has developed a psychological disorder”.

He also said he and Van Zyl, his “lieutenant”, wished to phone their own lawyer.

“I also sommer want to ask for blood pressure tablets, because I’m getting really upset.”

Stickling will conduct his own defence.

Tayob ordered that the three men be held separately.

Van Zyl and Kotze asked for their leg-irons to be removed. “We’re enjoying being here with you — it’s just the inhumane behaviour of the police towards the farmers that isn’t right,” Van Zyl told Tayob.

The case was postponed to next Monday, when the men will conduct their own bail application.

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