Ratte swops strike for bail

Justin Pearce

Right-wing hunger striker Willem Ratte ended his hunger strike on Thursday, being granted R1 000 bail pending a supreme court appeal against his five-year sentence.

Earlier Ratte had said he was opposed to bail since he rejected the judicial system that sentenced him, but would abide by the decision of “the volk”.

His decision to accept bail followed a last-minute scramble by his supporters to produce signatures proving the volk did indeed approve of a bail application.

“The volk is not just a handful of people,” said Volksfront representative Dawid Grobelaar early on Thursday. “Ratte needs to know there is a groundswell of support for him among the volk.”

But it could be back to square one after his case goes on appeal to the supreme court.
Grobelaar could not predict whether Ratte and his supporters would accept a sentence passed by the supreme court: “That depends on the attitude of the government, on public opinion and the way the case is handled.”

Grobelaar said the five-year sentence received by Ratte had been an “obvious miscarriage of justice” which Ratte and his supporters rejected. But he said the judiciary was also appointed by a government “which is trying to take revenge on the Afrikaner”.

He warned that “in spite of the sub judice rule, we cannot help making our opposition known” once the case goes back to court.

Ratte has been convicted on charges relating to the occupation of Fort Schanskop in Pretoria in 1993.

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