Kimberley - The State has called for an effective six-year prison sentence for right-wing leader of the Geloftevolk Republiekeine (GR) André Visagie.
Visage was found guilty of the unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and firearm parts at the end of last year.
His son, Jan, 18, who was facing charges with him, was acquitted.
The police raided the family’s home in Andre Street, Heuwilsig, and searched the house and garage.
Weapon parts, ammunition, knives, pangas, silencers, chocking devices, plastic bottles and cellphones were found.
The police said after the raid that they confiscated more than 14 cellphones, which were believed to have been stolen, two laptops, a personal laptop, approximately 650 bullets, five handmade guns, and one unlicensed 9mm pistol, a cellphone which was connected to wires (which might have been used to remotely detonate an explosive device), several possible explosive devices, gunpowder and a number of documents.
In his judgment the magistrate, Vernon Smith, said Visagie had an absolute lack of confidence in the police and was unhappy about farm attacks. Visagie, testifying in mitigation of sentence showed a YouTube video in court of President Jacob Zuma, adding that he believed that it was the intention of the ANC and the government to kill off white Afrikaners.
“It started in the ‘90s with PAC propaganda, followed by Peter Mokaba’s hate speech, ‘Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer’. Before the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche, the ANC started singing ‘Kill the Boer, they are racists’.”
Visage, who is represented by Jurg Prinsloo SC, added that at the time, the “boerevolk” were very worried because it appeared that the ANC supported the hate speech.
Becoming emotional, Visagie said two people, who were very close to him, were brutally tortured and murdered.
“After this I was arrested.”
He added that the video of Zuma (which, according to the introduction, was of the now President singing various versions of Shoot the Boer during an ANC celebration) was proof that the State wanted white Afrikaners eradicated.
“I was scared for my safety and the safety of my family, as well as that of my people.”
According to Visagie, he registered a complaint regarding the video with the South African Human Rights Commission but after a year he received a letter saying they could do nothing and he should open charges with the police.
“There are three things you can do if you are threatened; freeze, flee or fear. I believed that these were not empty threats and we needed to protect ourselves. This was a matter of self-defence.”
He, however, dismissed the weapon parts found at his home as “palooka”.
“These were pipes that you could do more damage to yourself with than anything else.”
Shaun Abrahams, from the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit of the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, who represented the State, pointed out that Visagie had been convicted of extremely serious charges.
“In relation to the 9mm pistol, which was lawfully registered to Visagie’s father-in-law, the accused paid total disregard to the rule of law by handing the firearm to Rudolph Steyn (Visagie’s bodyguard) to use for five months and also informed him that it could not be traced,” Abrahams said.
“With regard to the self-made shotguns, manufactured by Koos de Wet, the accused’s best friend and later leader of the GR’s Lion Brigade, it is submitted that the accused had the arms manufactured for no other reason but for common acts of criminality under the so-called auspices of politics and defending the Boer nation. The accused instigated his followers to arm themselves and not to hand in unlicensed firearms.
“The accused raised the question as to why he should resort to possess these self-made shotguns when he lawfully owns an eight-shot pump-action shotgun. The answer is simple; it was for acts of criminality and supports evidence presented by Steyn that the accused wanted him to assist in the sporadic acts of terrorism against black people, which would have had drastic and devastating consequences for this democratic non-racial and multi-lingual country.”
He added that the motives for the crime had its roots firmly espoused in the political sentiments of the accused, “which he has embraced for the better part of his lifetime”. Visagie had been a member of the AWB for 25 years, before forming the GR, which essentially adopted the constitution of the AWB.
Abrahams called for Visagie to be given six years for the first charge, two years for the second and three months for the third and that they run concurrently, meaning an effective six years imprisonment. The case was postponed until July 9.
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