High Court Reporter

CONVICTED Boeremag bomber Kobus Pretorius’s recent break with his family – whom he called “the clan” – was painful for him and made him feel like a traitor. But he had no choice as he had realised that his upbringing caused him to be on the wrong path, resulting in his ending up hurting others.

This is according to a report submitted to the Pretoria High Court yesterday by psychologist Dr Elsabe Swanepoel, who evaluated Kobus and gave him an array of tests.

Her evidence followed that by Kobus earlier. He testified in detail about his remorse over his involvement in the Boeremag.

He is the first of 20 convicts to take the stand to testify in mitigation of sentence.

Kobus was found guilty last year of high treason, culpable homicide and conspiracy to commit murder.

The convictions followed his part in the Boeremag’s quest to overthrow the government.

He, and others, helped to manufacture and plant bombs, one of which cost a Soweto woman – Claudia Mokone – her life. While the 39-year-old engineer and farmer no longer disputed his guilt, he aimed to explain to the court why he had become involved in these activities.

Swanepoel said Kobus had made a 180-degree turnabout when he broke away from “the clan”.

He now accepted his pastoral consultant, Sonia Jordaan, and her family as his new family. According to him, they taught him what real love was and he planned to stay with them when he was released.

Swanepoel said Kobus had broken all ties with his family and most of his fellow Boeremag convicts.This had left him out in the cold.

He was actively involved in politics and the church during his childhood and was taught to be totally obedient towards his stern parents.

According to the report, he always felt an outsider in his family and felt inferior to his two brothers, especially Johan, who is a medical doctor.

Kobus’s self-esteem was boosted when he became a Boeremag member. Kobus at some stage tried to break away from his parents’ dominance, Swanepoel said, but he could not. He saw the Boeremag as an opportunity to get away from his situation.

Swanepoel said that until recently, Kobus constantly tried to seek the acceptance of his parents.

He was also described as a very impressionable person who became fanatical about what he believed.

He earlier saw it as his duty to assist the Boere nation in their fight for a better life and this was why he became involved in planting bombs.

But Kobus now had a change of heart and told the psychologist he had learnt a lot about black people and how his actions had hurt them. He apologised for his behaviour and realised that his behaviour must have been painful for many people.

Swanepoel said Kobus’s beliefs now appeared to be in stark contrast with those of his past. He believed his family took advantage of him and did not care for him as they claimed to. She described Kobus as pleasant and sensitive person. Her evidence continues on Monday.