Biggest Fashion Sale Of The Year! Shop 12 000 Up To 70% OFF!
Pretoria - Although guilty of treason and plotting to overthrow the government, some Boeremag members want to retain the right to own firearms.
This is according to an application in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday following the sentencing of the 19 on Tuesday.
They received sentences ranging from suspended sentences to an effective 25 years behind bars.
Some of the accused sentenced to jail time - Mike du Toit, Tom Vorster, Deon van den Heever and Lets Pretorius - were back in court on Wednesday to apply for an order not to forfeit their right to own firearms.
But when an accused is found guilty of treason, it automatically follows that they are declared unfit to possess a firearm. However, the law makes provision for an accused to apply to the court for permission to possess a firearm.
Nine of the accused, including Mike and André du Toit, Van den Heever, Rooikoos du Plessis, Pretorius and Vorster, gave reasons why they should be allowed to possess firearms. These include that they needed the firearms for their own protection once they left prison, and for having to protect their livestock from predators on their farms.
Some simply stated they needed the firearms for hunting.
It was argued on behalf of the Du Toits that they never arrived at any of the Boeremag planning meetings with firearms and had never threatened anyone with a gun.
Advocate Harry Prinsloo said when they were released from jail, they would have to return to their elderly parents’ farm. “There are wild beasts on the farm. They have to protect themselves and the livestock.”
Prinsloo said Van den Heever and Du Plessis also needed their firearms for protection and hunting.
It was argued on behalf of Boeremag mastermind Tom Vorster, that he is “an old man” who, after serving his effective 25 years in jail, would one day need his firearm for self protection.
Paul Kruger, applying on behalf of Pieter van Deventer - who received a suspended sentence - said his client stayed on a smallholding in Boschkop near Pretoria, where he needed his gun for self protection. He did not have the means to pay for electric fencing or security services. His only means to protect himself and his family was his firearm.
Kruger said it was known that there was a lot of crime where Van Deventer lived and it was his constitutional right to protect himself and his loved ones against harm.
Advocate Piet Pistorius said Giel Burger, who also received a suspended sentence, had always been a military man. The only job he could now do, would be in the security industry. To earn a living, he needed a firearm.
Pretorius, he said, needed his firearm for protection and hunting once he was freed from jail.
Daan Mostert told the court the men should not be punished further. Some of them needed their guns for when they “have a run-in with a buffalo” on their farms, he said.
Pieter Luyt, on behalf of the State, vehemently opposed this and said the men cited selfish reasons for wanting to own firearms. They are not fit to possess firearms as they planned atrocities which, if they succeeded, would have caused a bloodbath in our country, he said.
Judge Eben Jordaan said he would endeavour to deliver judgment on Friday.
Meanwhile, the judge forfeited several exhibits in the 10-year trial, to the State. These include several rifles - AK-47s, R4 and R1s, several other firearms, including shotguns, ammunition and several vehicles and an ambulance used during the coup plot. Two of the vehicles that allegedly belong to other people not involved in the Boeremag, were provisionally forfeited. The alleged owners have 30 days to apply for an order to get the vehicles back.
The court will on Thursday decide the fate of more than 30 State witnesses, implicated in the coup plot. If the judge decides they were open and honest during their evidence, they will not be prosecuted.