The High Court in Pretoria on Monday dismissed a bid by one of the Boeremag leaders, Dirk Hanekom, to appeal against his 20-year prison sentence for high treason.
Judge Eben Jordaan, who in 2013 sentenced the 20 Boeremag accused to between 25 years effective imprisonment and totally suspended jail terms, for plotting to violently overthrow the ANC-led government, said there were no prospects that Hanekom’s appeal would succeed.
The judge in 2013 found that the Boeremag had planned to destroy democracy, and to create chaos in the country by murdering the late Nelson Mandela with a land mine, which could have resulted in bloodshed.
The Boeremag’s bomb squad had bombed various targets, killing Soweto mother Claudia Mokone, and were planning five massive car bombs for targets in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Marabastad, when they were arrested.
Judge Jordaan also dismissed Hanekom’s bid to be released on bail pending his appeal, and an application to force Legal Aid South Africa to appoint a senior advocate to handle his appeal.
Hanekom, who is now studying theology in prison, told the court he had initially decided against applying for leave to appeal.
He instead applied to former president Jacob Zuma to pardon him, but his application was turned down and no answer was forthcoming about a renewed bid.
He conceded that he had correctly been convicted of high treason, but felt he had not received a fair trial and had grounds for appeal.
Hanekom maintained the state’s possession of privileged documents seized during his arrest rendered his trial unfair, although the state was not allowed to rely on the documents.
He also felt aggrieved about the state initially negotiating with him to become a state witness, but then decided to charge him, and claimed he had been “trapped” into becoming part of the Boeremag plot.
Judge Jordaan said there was no merit in any of Hanekom’s submissions, and his own admission that his high treason conviction was correct drew a red line through any argument on the merits.
He said the Supreme Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal of Boeremag master bomber Kobus Pretorius, who was also sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and there was no chance that Hanekom’s appeal against a similar sentence would succeed.
Meanwhile, another Boeremag leader Dr Lets Pretorius – together with his sons, Boeremag bombers Wilhelm and Johan Pretorius – will apply on Tuesday for bail pending their bid to appeal.