I’m a different man: Boeremag member

Pretoria - Convicted Boeremag member Kobus Pretorius has told the High Court in Pretoria he is not the same man who was arrested in 2002, SABC news reported on Monday.

Pretorius was testifying in mitigation of his sentencing in the Boeremag treason case. He told the court he no longer believed in the utopia of four Boeremag republics.

Judge Eben Jordaan reads his judgement during the Boeremag treason trial at the Pretoria High Court. File picture: Masi Losi. Credit: INLSA

He said he had thought about his life and beliefs during his time in jail. He had severed all ties with his family as they could not accept him and his new beliefs.

Last week, the possible bid by the Boeremag members to have their convictions for high treason overturned was delayed.

Judge Eben Jordaan postponed the trial of the 20 Boeremag members to this week. The decision followed a request by attorney Paul Kruger, who represented several of the accused, for more time, so they could study statements and consult their lawyers.

Kruger said some of the accused were contemplating an application in terms of Section 317 of the Criminal Procedures Act for a special entry on the court record.

Such an entry can be used on appeal for an application to have convictions set aside, if the appeal court finds an irregularity occurred which materially prejudiced the accused.

In August last year, Jordaan finally concluded his judgment in the nine-year-long trial. All 20 accused were found guilty of high treason resulting from a far-rightwing plot to violently overthrow the African National Congress-led government.

The Boeremag's bomb squad, Kobus Pretorius, his brothers Johan and Wilhelm, Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws, were in addition found guilty of attempting to murder former president Nelson Mandela with a home-made bomb.

They were also convicted of murdering Claudia Mokone in Soweto in 2002. Mokone died when a piece of steel dislodged by a Boeremag bomb planted on a railway line was flung into her shack. - Sapa