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Pretoria - The homes of most of the Boeremag members jailed this week are to be raided by police who have been ordered to confiscate any weapon and all ammunition that may be found on the premises.
A ruling to this effect was made and national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega was ordered to immediately see to it that the homes of some 16 of the Boeremag convicts are searched.
The police must also confiscate the convicts’ firearm licences, as well as the competency certificates with which they were issued at the time of obtaining their licences.
This followed a ruling by Judge Eben Jordaan in the Pretoria High Court on Friday in which he declared all the Boeremag convicts incompetent to possess a firearm, apart from the three who are serving suspended sentences and applied for permission to retain their firearms legally.
All the members who this week received jail sentences forfeited their right to own firearms, as well as two of the men who are serving suspended sentences.
It automatically follows that upon a conviction of high treason, as in this case, those convicted automatically forfeit the right to own firearms, unless they specifically apply to the court for permission to do so.
In terms of the new Firearm Licence Act, the court must officially declare the accused unfit to possess a firearm and order the police, armed with a search warrant, to search the homes of the accused and confiscate the arms.
Nine of the accused this week turned to the court, a day after they were sentenced for plotting to overthrow the government, asking for the right to retain their firearms.
These included Boeremag masterminds Mike du Toit and Tom Vorster. The bulk of the men said they needed the arms for self-protection when they are released from jail one day, for hunting purposes, or to protect livestock from predators.
Judge Jordaan said on Friday the Firearms Licence Act made provision for someone who had been declared unfit to possess a firearm, to again apply for a licence after five years.
He said he meted out sentences to all the Boeremag accused according to their level of involvement in the plot to overthrow the government. “They can again, after serving their sentences, apply… for licences.”
The judge, however said the cases of Pieter van Deventer, Giel Burger and Adriaan van Wyk were different, as they received suspended sentences because they were less involved in the coup plot.
Van Deventer said he stayed on a plot near Boschkop, east of Pretoria, and that his only means of protection was his firearm. He said he couldn’t afford electric fencing or security services.
Burger, who was a career soldier, said he had a job offer in the security industry which he needed to take to enable him pay his bills.
Van Wyk needed his firearm to protect himself and his family on their farm.
The fact that they may no longer own firearms came as a blow to many of the men, as they earlier told the court that their firearms included guns which they had inherited from their fathers.
The accused, who were on Tuesday sentenced to jail terms, will serve effective sentences of between five and 25 years.
Pretoria News Weekend