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Weekly Mail Reporters
20 Apr 1990 00:00
The rightwing counter-revolution has begun. This is the view being expressed by the white far-right in the wake of this week’s raid on an Air Force headquarters arsenal, allegedly masterminded by Boererstaat Party deputy leader Piet “Skiet’’ Rudolph.
State-of-the-art R5 rifles, shotguns, a light machine gun, sophisticated nightsights and ammunition were taken.
Rudolph, who allegedly phoned the Pretoria News yesterday while on the run from police, said: “I have now crossed the Rubicon.
Marais told the Weekly Mail he had already been approached by a number of civilian groups organising themselves into heavily-armed vigilante commandos in the style of Welkom’s Blanke Veiligheid. Soon, he claims, these will be operating countrywide. “The war of Boere liberation has long been in progress. Whites are organising and arming themselves. It’s just a question of when the war of weapons is declared.” This week AWB chief Eugene Terre blanche, speaking in Krugersdorp, reiterated his call for “a million guns” in response to the CP call last month for a million signatures opposing what the rightwingers see as a handover of power by the government. He also called upon whites to buy up guns and “to keep them clean” in preparation for civil war.
Marais warned that the rightwing cause has huge support in the lower ranks of the security forces and that increased insubordination is to be expected in the police and the military. “This country has long been m a state of war. The war has not ended but the government has all but dismantled the security apparatus. If the government can’t provide security then the Boerevolk will.” The government was no longer in control of the whites, he said, citing as proof the recent withdrawal of mil¬itary weaponry allocated to members of rural commandos. “They aren’t sure any more what the weapons are going to be used for,” he said.
Marais warned that the treatment “as common criminals” of former Civil Co-operation Bureau members who, he said, had acted according to the rules of war, had further alienated members of the security forces. Boerestaat Party leader Robert van Tonder - whose deputy Piet Rudolph is - described the theft of South African Air Force weapons as being “part of the volksvryheidstryd” (struggle for freedom of the Afrikaner people) and warned that as State President FW de Klerk moves further down the road of negotiations, “more and more of this kind of thing is going to occur”.
Commissioner of Police General Johan van der Merwe said the weap¬ons stolen included shotguns, nine-millimeter pistols, R5 rifles, a light machine gun and ammunition. Other reports have claimed that over 70 guns, thousands of rounds of am¬munition and sophisticated nightsight equipment were taken. The weapons were stolen from a safe believed to have been opened with duplicate keys. Rudolph was allegedly smuggled into SAAF headquarters in the top security Nedbank building in Church Street, Pretoria, in a South African Defence Force minibus driven by national servicemen.
Conservative Party spokesman Chris van den Heever said yesterday his party only believed in non-violent action and opposed the raid. “If we condone this kind of action then we can just as well join up with the ANC. The ballot is our bullet - our road is a democratic one and we are not demanding the overthrow of the government.” Asked what he felt the effect of the raid would be, Van den Heever said. “They might shoot a few blacks and liberals and this will have no impact at all. The law must pursue its course and we’ll leave things in the capable bands of the police.”
However in post-February 2 speeches to his own constituency; CP leader Andries Treurriicht has sounded more militant than he has in the past. At a Pretoria mass meeting on February 15, Treurnicht said the gov¬ernment was forcing the Afrikaners to “live dangerously if they did not want to live as mice”. According to well-placed sources, rifts are growing in the CP consti¬tuency as more and more rightwingers endorse extra-parliamentary tactics in a struggle justified, as they see it, by the armed struggle of the ANC. A number of prominent CP members of parliament are known to have strong AWB links and according to well-placed sources have been pressurising Treurnicht to adopt a more militant stance. Last month CP defence spokesman Koos van der Merwe met with mem¬bers of Welkom’s Blanke Veiligheid and reportedly gave unofficial endorsement to the movement.
This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.
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