A farmer who was arrested in connection with an alleged rightwing plot to commit acts of terrorism in 2012 has been denied bail for rape, human trafficking, and child labour charges.
Louis Lategan, 41, was the fifth man to be arrested and charged with allegedly plotting to kill President Jacob Zuma and other high-ranking ANC officials during the Mangaung conference in 2012.
Charges of treason and conspiracy to plan acts of terrorism were withdrawn against Lategan, and the state gave no reasons for the withdrawal of the charges.
He is accused of raping and drugging women after luring them to his Aberdeen farm in the Eastern Cape on the pretext of offering them work as babysitters or administrative jobs.
Lategan appeared at the Graaff-Reinet Magistrate’s Court on Friday, and he is facing five counts of rape, five counts of trafficking in persons, intimidation, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to a minor.
The magistrate agreed with the prosecution that the accused failed to prove exceptional circumstances for his release on bail and that he is a flight risk.
In addtion the magistrate agreed with the State that Latgean would interfere and intimidate witnesses.
NPA regional spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali, confirmed that Lategan was arrested after he handed himself over to police in Aberdeen in the company of his attorney on July 3, 2023.
“The police had already obtained and search warrant and a cyber-crime warrant, which they immediately effected,” Tyali said.
Tyali further added that police had been investigating complaints between March 2020 and April 2023.
Tyali confirmed that Lategan allegedly lured women under pretences that they were being hired for babysitting and administrative jobs at his farms.
"However, once the six complainants, who came from as far as Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, got into his farm, they would be drugged and raped on multiple occasions by the divorcee, Lategan.
"Some of the complainants were never compensated for working on the farm," Tyali said.
Tyali said that Lategan allegedly threatened to shoot and kill one of the complainants when she escaped from the farm. She has subsequently placed in a place of safety.
Tyali confirmed that Lategan is alleged to have also assaulted a nine-year-old child that he had taken from Aberdeen township to play with his children at his farm with a broomstick.
In his affidavit handed in support of his bail application, Lategan admitted that he was convicted in 2003 for hunting animals without a permit, convicted for reckless driving in 2004, convicted of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in 2006, and in September 2022, he was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault in Oudtshoorn for which he was given a wholly suspended sentence.
"The bail application had to be moved from Aberdeen to Graaff-Reinet because the magistrate is presiding over another case where Lategan is facing a rape of a minor child.
"Lategan is currently out on bail in that case. For further investigations, Friday’s case has been postponed to September 19, 2023 in Aberdeen," Tyali said.