Boeremag treason suspects lose their chains

A High Court judge in Pretoria on Friday ordered that six of the Boeremag treason trial accused be allowed to appear in court without leg irons.

Six of the eleven accused launched a successful urgent application to have their privileges restored.

Their privileges were summarily removed without consultation after five of their fellow accused tried to escape during a tea break at the court on May 31.

The five would-be escapees will however remain in shackles when they appear in court.

‘Punished for something they did not do’
Brothers Johan, Wilhelm and Kobus Pretorius, Adriaan van Wyk, Dirk Hanekom and Andre du Toit said they had nothing to do with the escape bid or the 2006 escape of Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws and were being punished for something they did not do.

Van Rooyen and Gouws were on the run for eight months after escaping from the court cells and were among the five who tried to escape in May.

The police opposed the application as they said the latest escape bid was still being investigated and they had information that another escape was being planned.

It could not be excluded that the six applicants might have been involved in smuggling a mixture of red pepper, thinners and ammonia, which were used on police during the violent escape attempt, police said.

The six applicants maintained the presence of more than 24 police officers and leg irons had not stopped the others from trying to escape.

Judge Roger Claassen said the six applicants were not amongst those who tried to escape and they had also not been charged in connection with the escape bid.

Police negligence not ruled out
The judge said one could not help but think that the police might have been negligent in the whole affair.

He said it was difficult to attach much value to the police’s objections to the six men’s leg irons being removed, as no specific information was revealed about past and future escape plans.

The judge also restored the six accused’s contact visits with their families at court on Fridays and ruled they may once again receive food and other parcels.

He said there was no proof that any of the applicants had helped to smuggle the substances used during the escape attempt into court.

Contact visits were of particular importance to the accused as no such visits were allowed at the Pretoria Local Prison.

Without it, some of the accused would never even have been able to hold their newborn children.

Five of the accused have been divorced since their trial commenced eight years ago.

Further concessions
Judge Claassen further ruled that the accused may use their laptop computers in court, but may not bring in carry bags and that their cells may only be locked at 10pm.

He however refused the six men’s application to be transported to court separately from the others.

The judge said he was convinced that a possible further escape attempt by the others did not endanger their lives to such an extent that it justified the claim.

The trial will resume on Monday, when defence counsel will continue with final legal argument.

It is expected that it may take up to another two years to complete the trial. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

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.

Related stories

A full life, well lived

Denis Goldberg was a forthcoming, funny, angry, brutally honest and impressive man who never stopped fighting for what he believed in

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans

Zondo tightens his grip with criminal complaint against Zuma

The state capture commission’s star witness now faces a criminal complaint and another summons

Sharp sting of the Green Scorpions

Crime busters secure a 97% conviction rate and register more criminal dockets for range of crimes

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…