Ratte doesn't want bail

Johannesburg - Rightwinger Willem Ratte has decided he will not apply for bail when he and nine other people return to court on preliminary weapons charges on Friday, his lawyer said on Monday.

"He is an angry man. He is not happy with the way that the State acted in this specific case. As far as he is concerned, they are keeping him in custody for no valid reason at all," said his attorney Daan Mostert.

He said it was possible that Ratte was trying to make a point with his decision.

Ratte and nine others made a brief appearance in the Witbank Magistrate's Court on Monday after being arrested during a police raid on his farm.

"Their case was postponed to Friday because some information about the accused still needs to ascertained," said National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

Mhaga said Ratte gave no reason to the prosecutors for his decision to abandon bail.

Preliminary charges

The preliminary charges were possession of dagga and unlicensed firearms.

The 10 were arrested in Balmoral, Mpumalanga, after police received information of a large number of arms and ammunition on Ratte's farm and that people were allegedly receiving military training there.

An urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court for their release failed when the judge turned down their request last Wednesday.

According to the 62-year-old Ratte's charge sheet, he was detained for the "protection of the constitutional democracy against acts of terrorism" and "possession of arms and ammunition".

Mhaga said at this stage there were no charges of terrorism.

At the Pretoria hearing, counsel for the accused Johan van Wyk told the court their arrests were unlawful as there had been no search warrant for the farm where they were arrested, and the men had not done anything unlawful.

Five of the 12 weapons seized were pellet guns for which no licence was required, while the others were licensed.

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