Security stepped up after Boeremag escape attempt

Security was stepped up at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria on Wednesday after a foiled escape attempt by five of the 20 Boeremag treason trialists, police said.

Spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said the accused’s “privileges” had been withdrawn, including being able to have contact with their families and to receive food parcels from family and friends.

Strict limitations had also been put in place on what those attending court could take into the court.

De Beer would not elaborate on the increased security.

“Obviously, I can’t go into too much detail, but these are just some of the measures,” she said.

On Tuesday one of the accused, Herman van Rooyen, broke a glass door at the court exit, sprayed ammonia into a security guard’s eyes and ran into the street.

He was caught within minutes by the police, with the help of car guards, in Paul Kruger Street close to the Palace of Justice on Church Square and dragged back into the court.

Another accused, Tom Vorster, physically attacked a policewoman, but she hit back and brought him under control.

Another three of the accused — Mike du Toit, Vis Visagie and Rudi Gouws — were caught inside the court before they could escape.

A policewoman, three policemen and a security guard had to be taken to hospital after ammonia was sprayed in their eyes.

The ammonia was apparently smuggled into court in nose-spray bottles.

The trial of the so-called Boeremag members for alleged treason recently entered its eighth year. The accused face more than 40 charges relating to a right-wing plot to overthrow the government.

Leg irons
Van Rooyen and Gouws had been manacled before their attempt to escape on Tuesday.

They had worn the manacles in court ever since they were recaptured following months on the run after escaping from custody at the high court in Pretoria in 2006.

On Tuesday morning, these manacles were found inside court GD, where legal argument for the defence continued.

At the time, De Beer said it was not clear how they had removed their leg irons.

This would form part of the investigation into the incident.

She said the police would request that all the accused wore leg irons in future.

All of them, including eight out on bail, were dragged back into court in the immediate aftermath of the escape attempt.

Their trial began in Pretoria’s Palace of Justice in May 2003.

The state started presenting evidence only five months later and closed its case in June 2007 after calling 158 witnesses.

Numerous legal wrangles, including several applications about the conditions in jail and many Legal Aid Board disputes, have stretched the trial into one of the longest-running criminal trials in South African legal history. — Sapa

Staff Reporter
Guest Author
Advertisting

Salie-Hlophe accuses Goliath of lying and racism

In response to Goliath’s gross misconduct complaint, Salie-Hlophe says Goliath has ‘an unhealthy obsession with my marriage’

Miners speak out against Sibanye

Not a year into buying Lonmin, Sibanye is accused of mistreating the mineworkers who were injured eight years ago during the Marikana massacre. But the platinum giant says it is a miscommunication. Athandiwe Saba and Paul Botes visit Marikana to find out the truth

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide
Advertising

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.