Varying sentences for Boeremag members

2013-10-29 12:27

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Pretoria - Twenty Boeremag members convicted of high treason were given jail terms of between five and 30 years in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, according to reports.

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

Boeremag leader Tom Vorster and five bomb squad members were sentenced to in effect 25 years' imprisonment.

Master bomb maker Kobus Pretorius was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment, of which 10 years were suspended.

Boeremag leaders Mike du Toit, Dirk Hanekom and Dr Lets Pretorius were each sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, of which 10 years were conditionally suspended for five years.

Mike du Toit's right-hand man, Andre du Toit, and Dion van den Heever were sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment of which 10 years were suspended.

Rooikoos du Plessis and Jurie Vermeulen, who also played important roles in planning the coup, got 15 years' imprisonment, of which 10 were suspended.

Boeremag chaplain, Vis Visagie, 74, was sentenced to five years of correctional supervision.

Five of the Boeremag members who played a lesser role were given suspended sentences.

Bombing spree

The first of the Boeremag members was 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 the road Mandela he was supposed to use on his way to open a rural school, but the plan was thwarted when he arrived by helicopter instead.

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.

On Monday, Judge Eben 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.

He said Pretorius had ignored warnings that he was busy with unlawful activities and had bullied underlings to become part of the coup plan.

Jordaan rejected Prestorius's claim that the others had misled him, and said he must have understood the consequences of being complicit in the plot.

Read more on:    boeremag  |  racism

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