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Pretoria - Boeremag member Dr Lets Pretorius told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday he was not a racist and had never been in favour of using violence to achieve change.
Testifying in mitigation of sentence, he said he had not raised his sons to be racist or to be fanatical extremists.
“We were a happy, loving, God fearing and close family. I raised my sons as patriotic Afrikaners,” he said.
Pretorius, his three sons and 16 other Boeremag members were convicted last year on a charge of high treason.
This arose from a rightwing coup plot to overthrow the African National Congress government.
His sons, and Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws, were also found guilty on charges of attempting to murder former president Nelson Mandela with a homemade bomb.
They were furthermore convicted of murdering Soweto mother Claudia Mokone with a bomb placed on a railway line in October 2002.
Pretorius said that as a medical doctor he worked with black patients at a missionary hospital for three years.
He ran several rural clinics in the former Lebowa for 16 years and treated both black and white patients at his private clinic.
His sons often accompanied him and did not have any problems with black people, he said.
“The day before my arrest, I received a command from the Holy Spirit to level the road for the Boer nation in the desert, and to raise a banner for the new nation that would be formed.
“There was no element of violence anywhere in this command.
“I've kept myself busy with this since my release on bail. I know the State has watched every word and step I take, and I am sure that if there was even a hint of illegality anywhere my bail would have been cancelled.
“I am still involved in the website Boerevryheid that is used as a debate forum to build the Boer nation as an entity.”
He denied playing a leading role in the Boeremag.
He said his role would have been to provide medical support services when a large scale black-on-white attack (the so-called Night of Terror) predicted by Boer prophet Siener van Rensburg came to pass.
He claimed the coup plot was exclusively the brainchild of fellow accused Tom Vorster and that he had not been privy to all of Vorster's plans.
“Vorster assured me we were busy with plans that would come into effect after the Night of Terror.
“I never had the impression that we were busy with an offensive action. I was very effectively bluffed.
“I am prepared to admit attending meetings and to admit my lack of insight.
“I was always on the sidelines and never helped to make plans, except to ensure there was medical equipment available.
“I can say in all honesty that I was never at any stage busy planning a coup.
“If people had enough trust in me to link my name without my knowledge to ranks and posts, I should not be punished for it.
“I never had the impression that my sons were going to plant bombs.
“I knew absolutely nothing about the planting of bombs. If I had not been arrested, I would have done everything within my power to ensure than no bomb ever went off.
“I confronted my sons in jail about the bombs and was told Tom Vorster and Hanekom had convinced them they would be in a situation of war and would be protected by the Geneva Convention.
“I've never been in favour of violence to achieve change.
“I had always treated the victims of violence, but the first time I personally came into contact with violence was when a gun was pushed against my head and I was shoved around during my arrest.
“I've had a good relationship with black people all of my life. My record (as a medical doctor) speaks for itself,” he said.
Pretorius testified that he and his son Johan, also a medical doctor, had according to his calculations each lost about R20 million as a result of the case.
They had to close down their private hospital and Pretorius also had to sell off his farms and livestock.
The trial continues. - Sapa