Boeremag accused not dangerous - lawyers

2013-09-30 20:07
Some of the Boeremag accused at the North Gauteng High Court. (Picture: Beeld)

Some of the Boeremag accused at the North Gauteng High Court. (Picture: Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Counsel for several of the Boeremag members convicted of treason argued on Monday that their clients were not dangerous criminals.

They contended that life imprisonment for them would be shockingly inappropriate.

The State has asked the court to sentence eight of the 20 accused in the country's first post-apartheid treason trial to life imprisonment, and 11 to between five to 15 years in jail.

The State has not asked for the imprisonment of Fritz Naude, who is in a nursing home after a series of strokes.

Coup plot

The charges result from a right wing coup plot to violently overthrow the African National Congress-led government.

A Soweto mother was killed, a plot to murder former president Nelson Mandela nearly carried out, and damage of millions of rands caused in a series of explosions forming part of the coup plan.

Paul Kruger, for Pieter van Deventer and Gerhardus "Oom Vis" Visagie, argued that the State had a "witch hunt mentality", evident in the "draconian" sentences it sought.

"The State wants the court to punish the accused for the potential results of their deeds," he said.

Kruger said if the State was correct, someone caught driving at 200km/h should be punished for potentially killing someone.

"This cannot happen in a civilised legal system. An accused should be punished for what he already did," he said.

He argued that rehabilitation ought to be possible without the person becoming a supporter of the government of the day, or going on a "foot-washing expedition".

He was apparently referring to apartheid-era police minister Adriaan Vlok washing the feet of Rev Frank Chikane, former head of the SA Council of Churches, who survived an attempt on his life in the 1980s, in August 2006.

'Deaf ear to calls for Volkstaat'

Kruger said the State's argument that the Boeremag members could have used political avenues to realise their aim of self-determination was not true, as the ANC government had turned a deaf ear to repeated calls for a "Volkstaat" (a Boer state).

He said it was clear the elderly Visagie, a retired top civil servant turned farmer, had never been a criminal, but could simply not live with the change the country.

"As an elderly man who's had several heart operations he's been through a living hell for the last 10 years of his life. Direct imprisonment could lead to his death," Kruger added.

Louisa van der Walt, for Andre du Toit, argued that the State did not have rehabilitation in mind, only retribution and prevention. She said the State's argument that thousands of people would have been driven out of the country if the Boeremag's plans had worked out was "ridiculous".

Lawyer Piet Pistorius argued that the State's argument on sentencing made no sense. It sought, for example, life imprisonment for Lets Pretorius, a dedicated medical doctor who served the community and saved lives, while asking for only 10 years imprisonment for another accused who played a far greater role.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    boeremag

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

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.