Mangaung plotters ‘had no weapons’

Bloemfontein - Rightwingers accused of plotting to attack the ANC's 2012 Mangaung conference were unable to find weapons, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Thursday.

“They could not get weapons. Prinsloo's car was the fastest, they wanted to go to Pretoria and Naboomspruit, to look for weapons,” a witness testified.

File image. Credit: [email protected]

Judge Mojalefa Rampai was hearing evidence in the treason and conspiracy trial of Johan Prinsloo, 51, from Springs, Gauteng.

Prinsloo faces charges of treason, conspiracy to take part in terrorist acts, and possession of illegal ammunition.

Prinsloo, Mark Trollip, 48, and Martin Keevy, 49, were arrested in connection with the alleged plan to attack the African National Congress's Mangaung conference on December 16, 2012.

The court heard on Wednesday that the plan was to fire a mortar bomb at the entrance of the ANC's conference venue, the Callie Human Centre at the University of the Free State.

When guests began streaming out the plan was to fire another mortar bomb and open fire on delegates with automatic weapons.

Prinsloo's lawyer Johann Nel on Thursday cross-examined a State witness, a police agent who infiltrated rightwing circles, for a fourth day on Thursday.

Called Mr A, he was questioned on his testimony about two meetings in a Ficksburg hotel on December 12 and 13, 2012.

“Trollip said they must go and search for weapons, because the next morning it was supposed to be such a time (for the attack),” he said.

Earlier, the court heard due to a strong-flowing Caledon River weapons could not be brought into South Africa from Lesotho.

Nel also questioned Mr A's bad memory in relation to his statements and the dates he signed them.

“If your memory is so bad about the statements, how trustworthy is the information you give to the court?” asked Nel.

Mr A replied: “My work is to gather information, statements are not my work.”

He said Prinsloo was mostly quiet during the Ficksburg meetings. Nel said Prinsloo would deny he was present at the discussion in the hotel's restaurant when the attack was discussed.

Though Prinsloo did not take part in the discussion of the attack, he was there and talked once, said Mr A.

“He guaranteed that a buffer attack group of men would be on scene,” said Mr A, referring to the day of the attack.

Trollip pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy and was sentenced to eight years in prison last year. Keevy was declared unfit to stand trial and declared a state patient in October last year.

Judge Rampai postponed the matter to Monday.