Top cops 'orchestrated Boeremag coup'

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iol news pic Boeremag Tom Voster

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File image - Boeremag accused Tom Voster before Judge Eben Jordaan convicted him of high treason at the Pretoria High Court. Picture: Masi Losi

 Pretoria - Top officials in the police's crime intelligence unit “orchestrated” a rightwing coup plot and supplied the explosives used to train Boeremag members, a retired police spy told the High Court in Pretoria.

Former crime intelligence officer Captain Deon Loots on Monday testified that he had resigned out of protest against his superiors changing what was initially a self-defence plan to a coup.

Loots was testifying in an application for a special entry on the court record, which could eventually be used on appeal in an application to set aside the treason convictions of the 20 Boeremag members.

The convictions stem from a rightwing plot to overthrow the ANC-led government.

Loots retired from the police on medical pension in 2001 after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. His now-estranged wife, Col Miranda Loots, is still a member of crime intelligence.

He testified that he had kept on acting as handler for police spy JC Smit, even after deciding to leave the police in 2000, and that his wife had kept him informed of developments in the trial until 2010.

Loots was transferred to crime intelligence's covert unit after reporting about rightwing meetings at which plans (contained in the so-called Document 12) were discussed of how the commandos and defence force could restore order in the country if chaos broke out.

“The information was at that stage not of such a nature that it created a problem or danger for the country... Later it was decided that Document 12 had to be extended and made more offensive.

“Each handler had to expand on points in the document and then hand it to their informers so that they could take it back to the meetings.

“The first time the orders were given on a high level was at a meeting at the Bloemhof dam, where crime intelligence members from all over the country gathered.

“Director (now General) Roos called a small group of us aside and said we had to rewrite Document 12 so that it became more offensive... It had to be done over a few months so that people at the meetings did not become suspicious that something was being planted.

“You gave your informer instructions to go to a meeting and then make statements that would make the meetings more offensive and dangerous... Most of the time the informer would take the 'loaded' Document 12 with him.

“I personally made changes to Document 12 about three or four times,” he said.

Loots said he had ways of checking Smit's information through other informers, and by using the police's technical support unit to bug places where meetings were held.

They had bugged Smit's lounge, which he let a rightwinger use, so they could listen in on meetings. They also bugged Smit's car so they could monitor him.

The trial continues. - Sapa


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