/ 30 March 2011

Former AWB leader in court on firearm charges

Former AWB secretary-general Andre Visagie has appeared in the Kimberly Magistrate’s Court on charges of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said Visagie was arrested by the police on Tuesday afternoon.

Police seized 14 suspected stolen cellphones, computers, 650 rounds of ammunition of various calibres, five homemade shot guns and an unlicensed 9mm pistol.

Other items seized included a cellphone modified in such as way that it could be used as a remotely activated detonator for an improvised explosive device, several samples of possible explosives, gunpowder and a large amount of documents.

Mhaga said Visagie was granted R10 000 bail and the case was postponed to May 20 for further investigation.

The NPA said the arrest followed an intensive investigation.

More possible arrests and additional charges could not be ruled out.

Police National commissioner General Bheki Cele congratulated the police’s crime intelligence unit on the arrest.

“The operation was conducted pursuant to intelligence gathered by the counterterrorism section which relates to alleged illegal activities by the 47-year-old suspect,” he said in a statement.

Cele said the detection of illegal arms, ammunition and explosives formed part of the police’s policing priorities, and the raid on Tuesday night was to rid society of such threats. – Sapa