Boeremag accused wants to 'serve community of SA'

One of the Boeremag treason trial accused, Kobus Pretorius, on Monday told a Pretoria High Court judge he had had an epiphany in jail and wanted to be released on bail so that he could “serve the community of South Africa”.

Herb farmer Pretorius, his father, Dr Lets Pretorius, brothers Johan and Wilhelm and 17 other Boeremag accused are on trial on 42 charges ranging from high treason to terrorism, attempted murder and murder.

Dr Pretorius and several of the accused are presently out on bail, but the three Pretorius brothers have been in jail since their arrest late in 2002.

The state alleges that the accused had planned a violent right-wing coup to topple the African National Congress government and had caused several explosions, including one in Soweto in which a woman was killed, as part of their coup plot.

Trial Judge Eben Jordaan last year dismissed the accused’s application for their discharge, finding there was a prima facie case to answer.

On Monday, the 34-year-old Kobus Pretorius told Judge Khami Makhafola he was “a new man” after accepting Jesus Christ as his saviour.

He said he had had an epiphany in jail after reading the book The Cross and the Switchblade, a true story about pastor David Wilkerson’s first five years in New York.

He said he could not serve the community while locked up for 16 hours per day and wanted the opportunity to serve the community and make a contribution to the country’s spiritual and financial welfare, instead of standing on the receiving end of taxpayers’ money.

He revealed that the same farmer on whose farm he and other alleged Boeremag members were arrested—Coen van der Schyf—was prepared to register a bond of R500 000 on his farm as bail money.

He said he had no fixed property of his own and did not know if his father or brothers could provide money for bail. The herb farm had been sold since his arrest in December 2002 and his wife, who divorced him two years later, controlled his share portfolio.—Sapa



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