Pretoria - The united front once shown by the 20 Boeremag treason trial accused has splintered to such an extent that many of them are no longer talking to one other.
Before judgment in the long-running trial began last week, one of the accused, medical doctor Lets Pretorius, spoke openly about a rift between the family and one of his sons, Kobus.
Pretorius and his sons Johan (also a qualified medical doctor), Kobus and Wilhelm are among the 20 Boeremag members accused of high treason.
In a radio interview, Pretorius blamed the rift on the influence of his son's psychologist Sonja Jordaan, and said he hoped it could be healed.
In a newspaper interview, he described the family as close-knit, patriotic and God-fearing, but not fanatical.
It was noticeable during recent proceedings that Kobus ignored his brothers, father and mother Minnie, and spoke only to Jordaan during breaks.
He openly refers to Jordaan and her husband as “mother and father” in court.
Pretorius was overheard angrily confronting Jordaan in court, and telling her that she would have to answer to God for what she had done.
Jordaan, who described herself as Kobus' spiritual adviser, handed a statement to the media this week in which Kobus bitterly distanced himself from his family.
He said the reason for his statement was the “untrue facts” his father had given about the rift in the family during a radio interview.
“I grew up in the home of Dr Lets and Mrs Minnie Pretorius. I was raised in a politically and religiously extremist and fanatical form.
“They handled me as a display piece of their 'education'.
“With the passing of time in jail, I started to free myself from their religious and political convictions and principles. They tried at all costs to keep me trapped in their beliefs, resulting in tension between us.
“I tried to keep family ties intact, despite our differences. They did not accept me and my new convictions. After my attempts to retain family ties failed, I have now finally severed all ties with them,” he said.
Nine of the accused - brothers Mike and Andre du Toit, Rooikoos du Plessis, Adriaan van Wyk, Dion van den Heever, Magiel Burger, Jacques Olivier, Pieter van Deventer and Fritz Naude - have already been convicted of high treason.
The charge stems from a rightwing plot to violently overthrow the ANC government.
The plan entailed chasing all blacks and Indians out of the country after creating chaos, and replacing the government with rightwing Afrikaner military rule. - Sapa