Boeremag accused to be sentenced

By Drum Digital
29 October 2013

Judge Eben Jordaan will sentence the 20 men he convicted last year

of plotting to overthrow the government in the decade long Boeremag trial.

The men were found guilty in July last year of various crimes including high treason, murder and terrorism for plotting a racist coup.

The judge in the treason trial has described some of the accused as dishonest liars who had not played open cards with the court.

The decade-long trial has been one of the most expensive in South African history.

Legal Aid SA said it had spent just over R36m on the accused's legal costs to date.

Judgment on sentencing started exactly 10 years after the first witness took the stand in the trial in 2003.

The charge arises from a rightwing plot in the late 1990s and early 2000s to violently overthrow the African National Congress government and to chase all black, coloured and Indian people out of the country.

The first of the Boeremag members were arrested before others commenced a bombing spree, attacking among others the police air wing at the Grand Central Airport and blowing up railway lines, bridges and a Buddhist temple.

Members of the Boeremag's bomb squad - Herman van Rooyen, Rudi Gouws and brothers Johan, Kobus and Wilhelm Pretorius - were also convicted of culpable homicide and conspiring to murder former president Nelson Mandela.

Soweto mother Claudia Mokome was killed when the bomb squad blew up a railway line and a piece of steel landed on her shack.

The men also planted a bomb on a road Mandela was supposed to use on his way to open a rural school, but the plan was thwarted when he arrived by helicopter instead.

Jordaan described the personal circumstances of each accused in detail, stressing that their involvement in the case had caused financial ruin, the end of promising careers and also the end of marriages for many of them.

Two of the accused - Lets Pretorius and his son Johan - are medical doctors, several are academics and a number of them were officers in the defence force, who were fired after their convictions.

- Sapa/ Picture: AFP

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