A South African court Tuesday sentenced members of a white extremist militia accused of plotting to kill former president Nelson Mandela after a trial that lasted ten years. The apartheid loyalists received jail terms ranging from five to 35 years.
Five leaders of a South African white supremacist plot to assassinate former president Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country were sentenced to 35 years in prison on Tuesday after a trial lasting more than 10 years.
A Pretoria High Court gave 21 other defendants sentences ranging from five to 20 years for the botched coup attempt in 2002. Nine of them walked free having spent 11 years behind bars during the trial.
The so-called “Boeremag” militia of die-hard apartheid loyalists had plotted throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s to violently overthrow South Africa’s government.
They were also convicted of planning to assassinate the country’s former president Nelson Mandela in 2002 by planting a bomb on a route he had planned to travel by car.
Their plan failed, however, after Mandela, four years out of office, travelled to his engagement by helicopter instead.
Several members of the militia were charged with causing explosions at a string of sites in South Africa’s Gauteng province in 2002, most of them in and around the sprawling township of Soweto to the south of Johannesburg. One woman was killed in the attacks.
Food parcel plot to lure out blacks
The mastermind behind the Boeremag plot, former university lecturer Mike du Toit, was the first to be convicted last year for high treason, and was among those given a 35-year sentence.
According to prosecution testimony, the Boeremag’s plot, concocted around barbeques and at fast food outlets, had involved plans to drive South Africa’s black majority of about 40 million people out of the country and into Zimbabwe by lining a major national road between the two countries with food parcels.
The group had also proposed sending the 1.2 million Indians in the country back to the subcontinent by boat.
While racial tensions in South Africa persist almost 20 years since the first democratic elections ended apartheid rule in 1994, far right groups like the Boeremag and the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) have little backing from the country’s almost 5 million whites.
Date created : 2013-10-29