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Pretoria - He is totally against violence as a means to bring about change as there are other ways of achieving this, convicted Boeremag member Dr Lets Pretorius told the Pretoria High Court on Monday.
He took the stand to testify in mitigation of sentence, after being convicted of treason.
Pretorius told Judge Eben Jordaan that he had not for one moment thought that any bombs were going to be planted by some of the accused (including by some of his sons).
He was involved in the organisation mainly to deliver medical help after the “night of chaos” erupted - when blacks were supposed to attack whites.
Pretorius had been arrested in September 2002 and was in custody when some of the other accused planted bombs. They were responsible for a series of explosions in Soweto and at Grand Central Airport and a bridge in Port Edward. They also tried to blow up the Buddhist temple in Bronkhorstspruit.
A woman died when a piece of metal, dislodged when a bomb planted on a railway line in Soweto exploded, hit her in her nearby shack.
Pretorius said he did not at the time believe his sons were involved in this. He read about it afterwards in the newspapers. “If I was not arrested (at the time) I would have done everything within my power to prevent this.”
He had always had a good relationship with black people, Pretorius told the court. As a medical doctor, he had worked for three years in the rural areas in a missionary hospital and for 16 years he devoted his time in clinics in these remote areas.
His sons and co-accused - Johan, Wilhelm and Kobus - often went with him to these rural areas and they too, had good relationships with the black residents. “The accusations that I raised my sons to be racists is totally untrue.”
Pretorius said he was told by a friend whom he respected that the “night of chaos” was envisaged and that he would afterwards play a role in providing medical services. He was assured that everything was above board and that no laws would be transgressed.
He said he loved his family dearly, was a God-fearing man and a devoted member of the Boerevolk.
“My mother is in court today and she will be able to testify that I am a patriotic Afrikaner.”
A frail Martie Pretorius, 95, was in court on Monday. The court allowed her to spend half an hour during lunch with her three grandsons who have also been tried.
Pretorius told the court his advocate had told him to respect the fact that he had been convicted of treason. “I will respect this, but I reserve the right to test this (verdict) before another court.”