Boeremag dad says son’s view ‘warped’

Crime & Courts

Pretoria - Boeremag treason trialist Dr Lets Pretorius will not take responsibility for the “warped and selective” perceptions his middle son now has of his family, the Pretoria High Court heard on Monday.

Defence advocate Piet Pistorius put it to psychologist Elsabe Steenkamp that Dr Pretorius and his wife Minnie denied their son Kobus's perception that they had never loved or understood him, and said their lives proved the opposite.

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Boeremag treason trialist Dr Lets Pretorius with his wife, Minnie. File picture : Masi Losi

Dr Pretorius's perception was that his son's religious adviser Sonia Jordaan had driven a wedge between Kobus and his family.

He firmly believed that once Jordaan no longer had an influence over his son, he would come back to the fold.

Steenkamp testified that self-confessed Boeremag master bombmaker Kobus Pretorius had broken all ties with his family because he realised his upbringing and values were a sham and he finally saw them as liars.

She said his attitude towards black people seemed to have started changing when he started alienating himself from his family and the Boeremag, and he had now developed a close trust relationship with some prison officials.

“Even though Dr Pretorius denies his part in the choices Mr Kobus Pretorius made in becoming active in the 'terrorist' activities, he prepared Kobus's world and laid the foundation for his choices,” Steenkamp told the court.

“Even though he may not have given the direct order for him planting the bombs, he had planted the seeds since his birth and continuously and constantly repeated the message and the ideologies and convictions on his subconscious, until it became a firm conviction and part of his belief system.

“... Thus, even though Dr Pretorius justifies his role in Kobus's life as not having ordered him to be involved in 'terrorist' activities, he had actually prepared him all his life for it.

“... The ideology of the freedom/self-determination and white supremacy of the Boer nation has been inculcated in Mr Kobus Pretorius all his life and this was the foundation on which he has built his life.

“Thus, although Dr Pretorius and Mrs Pretorius cannot be blamed and held responsible for the choices Mr Kobus Pretorius made, it can certainly explain why he made the choices,” she said.

According to Steenkamp, Kobus Pretorius had been brought up in absolute obedience, had not learned critical thinking and had blindly followed in the footsteps of his father.

The distinct impression was that he had been raised in a reality of his own, and had become an alien in the world in which he was supposed to live and adjust, she said.

She said racism seemed to have played an integral part of the ideology of the Boeremag when the project started, and that Kobus did not hate blacks, but felt superior to them.

Steenkamp believed Kobus would not repeat his actions, that he had completely changed his stance, and that he now perceived his actions as a sin and against God and humanity.

“... The impression is that he has learnt from experience and is not likely to become involved in terrorist activities again, or allow himself to be swayed by others' convictions and ideologies to gain the approval and acceptance of those in authority,” she said.

Steenkamp disagreed with a statement by Pistorius that Kobus “came close to qualifying as a psychopath”.

She said the psychotic traits he showed were because of conflict with his family and other Boeremag members and his 10 years of incarceration.

She agreed that he was still immature and self-indulgent, but insisted he was on his way to maturity.

Dr Pretorius issued a lengthy statement in which he gave examples of how he and his wife had supported Kobus throughout his life.

He said he had given equal love and attention to all three of his sons, but that Kobus had been emotional, selfish and suspicious since childhood and had regarded it as neglect when he did not get all the attention.

According to Dr Pretorius, his son now occupied the attention of Jordaan to such an extent that her own family was breaking up.

Dr Pretorius, his three sons and 16 other Boeremag accused were convicted of high treason last year following a far rightwing coup plot to violently overthrow the African National Congress government.

The brothers, Rudi Gouws and Herman van Rooyen were also found guilty of culpable homicide as a result of the death of a Soweto mother in a bomb explosion in 2002.

They were also convicted of conspiring to kill former President Nelson Mandela with a car bomb.

The trial continues on Tuesday. - Sapa

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