Foreigners recruited by the AWB are proving a handful for the organisation, reports Claus Stacker.
A shadowy Kempton Park woman has emerged as a figure in the Weerstandsbeweging’s recruiting drive’ to bring European ultra-rightwingers to South Africa for undercover actions against the government.
But Monica Huggett has run into trouble with Eugene Terre’Blanche’s organisation—her recruits have behaved like hooligans rather than professional undercover operators. AWB members are known to be unhappy because the European recruits—mainly English, German and Norwegian citizens—have beaten up blacks in pubs rather than prepare for targeted attacks against politicians.
The organisation has had to pick up the legal bills for several recruits facing assault charges. Their rowdy and often brutal behaviour—two Germans were involved in a shootout with police near Pretoria in March, in which one was killed and two policemen injured—runs counter to current AWB members’ tactics of keeping their heads down.
Police say there is no evidence of a plot to kill President Nelson Mandela using European rightwing mercenaries, as has been reported. But the SAPS is investigating links between the German gunmen and former Vlakplaas killer commando chief Eugene de Kock, who was involved in the shootout. A bullet fired by De Kock hit one of the policemen.
SAPS spokesman Captain David Harrington said De Kock claims he was drawn into the shootout by chance. “He told investigators he was on a neighbouring property when he heard shooting. Fearing for his life, he fired in the general direction of the the muzzle fire.”
Observers are sceptical about De Kocks version. He was one of the SAP’s top firearms experts. The Germans involved in the shoot-out are due to appear in court next Friday, charged with attempted murder. Kunst, who was killed in the shootout, and Stephan Bays were recruited by Huggett, who fetched them and a third German, Alexander Neidlein from Jan Smuts airport.
Huggett introduced them to Pretoria Boerekommando leader Willem Katie, who called them “good chaps”. Huggett was arrested for illegal possession of firearms in March before being released on bail. “During the week she looks after an old woman in Pretoria; that’s where she gets her money from,” one relative said.
According to the police, Huggett calls herself a member of the “Afrikaner National-Socialists” and claims to be a former member of the Wit Kommando and the American Ku Klux Klan. Asked this week what she knew about co-operation with German ” nationalists”, she said, “A co-operation does not exist and I’m not talking to journalists. “Pressed further, she replied: You’re not a rightwinger, are you? That’s why I’m not talking to you.
Neidlein was not involved in the shootout, but has been deported to Germany, where he was wanted on several charges after being sentenced to two years in jail by a South African court for illegal weapons possession. Kunst was a member of the neo-Nazi NPD in Germany. Neidlein was a mercenary in Bosnia before coming to South Africa.
It is possible he met De Kock there—De Kock is known to have travelled to the former Yugoslavia last year. The former Vlakplaas boss speaks German and is known to have contacts in Germany. He flew to Bosnia via Munich, a centre of neo-Nazi publishing in Germany.
The German domestic intelligence agency, BfV, says it has no details about German rightwingers serving as mercenaries in South Africa. It believes there are probably one or two dozen” ultra-right German mercenaries in South Africa. But they were not necessarily politically motivated, said spokesman Dodo Becker. Many were primarily criminals and adventurers.
Ministry of Safety and Security spokesman Craig Kotze said police had “undertaken certain steps, including co-operation with Interpol and intelligence agencies” to keep tabs on suspicious foreigners.