Andre Visagie in the Kimberley magistrates court yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley -

The leader of the Geloftevolk Republikeine, André Visagie, will refer his case to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, if he does not succeed in appealing his sentence.

He was granted leave to appeal after he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for the illegal possession of five handmade guns and a 9 mm pistol, the illegal possession of ammunition and the illegal possession of firearm parts.

His bail of R10 000 was extended pending the outcome of his appeal.

Visagie is a first offender, where a large wooden chest filled with rounds of ammunition was found in his son’s (Jan) bedroom, who was acquitted of the charges.

Other items that were confiscated from his house and garage in Heuwelsig include a choking apparatus, a crossbow, cellphones, possible explosives, gunpowder and pangas.

Things became heated when the prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, asked him if Koos de Wet from the Lion Brigade of the Geloftevolk Republikeine was still a member.

Abrahams pointed out that Visagie’s son had spent the night at de Wet’s residence when the police searched the house in 2011.

“The record shows that he is still a member.”

De Wet had manufactured a knife and a choking device that was found in Visagie’s bedroom in order to defend the Boer nation.

In a raised voice, Visagie implicitly stated that De Wet was no longer a member.

“My people are not traitors.”

He also shook his head when Abrahams made a comparison with the leader of the EFF, Julius Malema.

“The accused chose not to register his political party, unlike Malema.”

Abrahams also pointed to a list that had been drawn up, with the names of a few Afrikaners, who were branded as traitors.

He was of the opinion that Visagie posed a threat to De Wet as well as the safety of the public, moreover black people.

“How do you prevent communication in a world of SMSes, telephones and social media? Any member can be contacted in order to execute the directives of the accused.”

Abrahams added that while Visagie was not charged, the State had to examine the possibility of contravention of the Explosives Act as well as terrorism.

Magistrate Vernon Smith said that the accused showed no remorse.

“He blames everyone but himself and has no faith in the authorities, including the police, political leaders and the government.

“He was in the illegal possession of firearms, handmade guns either to defend himself against attackers or to launch attacks.”

Smith stated that the offences were racially motivated, where Visagie was exercising his political convictions.

He ordered that Visagie serves a sentence of direct imprisonment and found him unfit to possess a firearm.

Senior advocate, Jurg Prinsloo, pointed out that all the illegal weapons had been handed over the police.

“It is not necessary to make a decision on the firearm licence until the outcome of the appeal.”

He stated that the items that were confiscated from his garage belonged to Visagie’s deceased parents and that he was not present when they were discovered.

“The fact that no fingerprints were lifted from the wooden chest, makes this case unique. The accused was surprised to discover the contents of the wooden kist when it was opened by the police on March 29 2011.

“Either the police did not look for fingerprints or they did not like what they had found.”

Prinsloo indicated that Visagie’s former bodyguard, Rudolph Steyn, had negative feelings towards Visagie and could have planted evidence in his house.

“Why would an intelligent man like my client, leave dangerous weapons such as a knife, choking device and handmade guns in his house and garage?”

He argued that his client be given a suspended sentence or be placed under correctional supervision.

Visagie has championed the cause of farmers and Afrikaners, who were vulnerable to targets of brutal murders.

“Visagie tried to rescue the situation on many occasions by seeking assistance from the South African Human Rights Commission and the Minister of Police. He is no longer a young man, his health is not good and he is a first-time offender. It will not be conducive for him to stay in prison where he will be exposed to terrible conditions.”

Prinsloo also pointed out that should the accused post anything on Facebook or other social media, the police would be able to clamp down on any unsavoury comments.

He said while the Geloftevolk Republikeine was not a registered party, it continued to represent the rights of the Afrikaner nation.

The case was postponed until August 21.

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