Bester trial to resume in Potch

The trial of Charles Bester, the youngest conscript to refuse to serve in the South African Defence Force, will resume on Monday in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court. Bester, 18, refuses to serve in the SADF on the grounds that he is a Christian. He could be the second white South African to receive a six­ year jail sentence for refusing to do military training.

The first was David Bruce, a 25-year-old university student. "The basic reason for my stand," says Bester, "is that I am a Christian and as a Christian must follow the path of love in every situation. I cannot put my life into compartments so that my religious life has no bearing on my political, sporting and other areas of my life."

According to a pamphlet released by the Charles Bester Support Group, Bester attended Grey College in Bloemfontein and St Martin's School in Johannesburg. "While at Grey College, in Std 7, he expressed doubts about serving in the SADF. Eventually, these doubts led him to stand trial rather that to serve the SADF,'' the pamphlet said.

The campaign to achieve community support for Bester’s plight, and that of other conscientious objectors, has been marred by smear pamphlets. Pamphlets, which look like the one's produced by the Charles Bester Support Group, have been posted to the press.

The Conscientious Objectors Support Group says it "is reminiscent of smear tactics used against the End Conscription Campaign and an attempt to denigrate the actions of young men of great at courage and integrity."


This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Thandeka Gqubule
Guest Author

Related stories

Shaun Johnson: Charm without the smarm

The Weekly Mail hired him to get the training project off the ground; he did much, much more than that, writes Irwin Manoim

Court orders EFF to apologise for Gqubule and Harber ‘StratCom’ claim

The Johannesburg high court says the EFF had brought no evidence to back up the allegation

Journalist gives EFF one week to prove apartheid spy claims, or pay up

Thandeka Gqubule says she has obtained declassified documents proving that Stratcom was spying on her

Editorial: It is time that we listen and learn

We find ourselves in a vitriolic debate about our history —who did what, why did they do it, who can be trusted and who sold out

‘We need to take a critical view of a complicated history’

History can have conflicting narratives and as an audience we do not approach it without our own understanding of it
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

‘Where the governments see statistics, I see the faces of...

Yvette Raphael describes herself as a ‘professional protester, sjambok feminist and hater of trash’. Government officials would likely refer to her as ‘a rebel’. She’s fought for equality her entire life, she says. And she’s scared of no one

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

Al-Shabab’s terror in Mozambique

Amid reports of brutal, indiscriminate slaughter, civilians bear the brunt as villages are abandoned and the number of refugees nears half a million

South Africa’s cities opt for clean energy

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions will hinge on the transport sector
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…