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A group of right wing extremists was planning to kill the president, the deputy president, Cabinet ministers and senior ANC leaders, the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
Four right wing leaders appeared in the court on treason and terrorism related charges on Tuesday.
State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams alleged the four - Mark Trollip, Johan Prinsloo, Martin Keevy and Hein Boonzaaier - were part of a group who planned “Die Slag van Mangaung” (The Battle of Mangaung) to eliminate the country's leaders.
The state alleged that the group planned to overthrow the government by attempting to acquire mortar bombs, arms and ammunition to kill the president, Cabinet ministers and ANC members during the ANC’s Mangaung elective conference on December 16, 2012.
Eight heavily armed guards with R5 rifles and several public order police in bullet-proof vests were present in the courtroom when the men appeared.
The matter was moved to a quieter courtroom after journalists, family and the public packed Court 19 at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
Appearing before Magistrate Monde Matshaya eventually, the State alleged the group, along with others, had been planning since January 2012 to establish a new right wing party, the Boere Party, and commit acts of sabotage.
Abrahams said the group had been planning their actions near Bloemfontein, although the conspiracy was also discussed during other meetings in Centurion, Springs and Prieska in the Northern Cape.
The State submitted the men’s intentions were to threaten the unity and territorial integrity of South Africa.
They would have done so by inducing feelings of terror, fear or panic amongst the country’s citizens.
The charge-sheet indicated the aim of the operation was to advance the group's own political and ideological views, with the purpose of self-governance.
The court heard Trollip was arrested on the road between Kimberley and Douglas in the Northern Cape on Saturday.
Keevy was arrested at a guest house in Bloemfontein, while Prinsloo was arrested in Springs and Boonzaaier in Centurion on the same day.
It was stated Trollip was the self-proclaimed leader of the “Wit Brandwag” organisation.
Keevy was a well known right winger, while Prinsloo was a member of the “Boere Beskermingsforum (Boere Protection Forum, the BBF) and chairman of the “Volksorganisasies Leiersberaad (VOLBER)”.
Boonzaaier was also a well known right winger, who was allegedly sent by Prinsloo to the United States to liaise with right wing groups there.
The court heard the group held a meeting to establish the “Boere Party” for the purpose of enhancing self-governance on January 24, 2012.
However, Abrahams submitted the party was just a front to commit terror activities.
The State alleged the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung elective conference was seriously discussed during a meeting in Springs in March this year.
The State submitted it was in procession of data such as phone conversations and e-mails between the group members and other right wing organisations and individuals.
Abrahams said since August 2012 the group seriously started to focus on the ANC’s Mangaung gathering and information intercepted indicated that Trollip, Keevy and Prinsloo would start securing weapons such as mortar bombs and assault rifles such as AK-47s and R4 rifles.
Evidence apparently indicated that reconnaissance was done on the placement of the ANC tents on the premises of the University of the Free State.
Abrahams said photographs of the dining area for senior party and government officials were seized.
He told the court the group directly planned to eliminate the country’s top leadership in Mangaung.
The case was postponed to January 8.
The men would remain in custody. - Sapa