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‘Cops supplied Boeremag explosives’

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Some of the Boeremag members, Tom Voster, Herman Van Rooyen, Rudi Gouws and Dirk Hanekom stand in the dock during a recess. File picture: Masi Losi

 Pretoria - A former crime intelligence officer on Monday testified in the High Court in Pretoria that the police supplied explosives used to train rightwingers to plant bombs.

Retired Captain Deon Loots told the court he had kept on handling police spy JC Smit after deciding to leave the police in 2000, because Smit trusted him.

He gradually introduced Smit to a new handler, Col Louis Pretorius, who used to meet Smit at Loots' home.

Loots testified that during one meeting Pretorius suggested people had to be trained to manufacture explosives.

Loots was testifying in an application for a special entry on the court record, which could eventually be used on appeal in an application to set aside the treason convictions of the 20 Boeremag members.

Pretorius undertook to provide Smit with explosives “that would not be dangerous” so he could train people without causing damage.

Loots said Pretorius told them he had people in Bela-Bela who could be trained how to use explosives and sabotage power lines.

“I objected. I said it was unethical. You could not train people to commit crimes and then wash your hands of it... Col Pretorius said he could get explosives at a depot in the Potchefstroom area. Later he brought a person from the explosives factory with him to my house to train Smit how to work with explosives.

“I withdrew completely because I did not want to be associated with it,” Loots said.

“About two weeks later JC (Smit) phoned me one evening and said he had received explosives from Col Pretorius to train the people in Warmbaths (Bela-Bela) how to use explosives.

“I said he should not do it, but he said it was part of his instructions as an informer... I personally phoned Col Pretorius and confronted him for putting JC in a situation where he would make himself an accused by training people in handling explosives and making bombs.

“We had words to such an extent that JC feared Pretorius would have him arrested while he was on his way to Warmbaths with explosives in his car,” he said.

Loots helped Smit by taking the explosives in his own car to Bela-Bela, where Smit unloaded them, before going to where the training took place.

“Before we left I phoned Col Pretorius to express my discomfort. When we returned I told JC it was wrong. I said even if he had authorisation, how would he justify it if he trained people to plant bombs and someone died,” Loots said.

The trial continues. - Sapa


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