Mail & Guardian
Not yet uhuru
Documents on Boeremag accused’s computer link organisation with Suidlanders
Police are investigating possible links between the Boeremag, 23 of whose members are standing trial in Pretoria, and a far right-wing group called the “Suidlanders” (South landers).
The Suidlanders shot to public notice last week as the organisation behind the Nelson Mandela “hoax emails” feverishly circulated on the internet. Claiming the authorities had covered up Mandela’s death to avoid “mass hysteria”, it called on Afrikaners to stockpile fuel and food and to assemble at certain points for their safety.
Police investigators working on the Boeremag treason trial said this week that the Soweto bombers currently on trial in Pretoria — Herman van Rooyen, the three Pretorius brothers and Rudi Gouws — referred to themselves as “Suidlanders”.
Documents found on Boeremag murder and treason accused Wilhelm Pretorius’s computer link the name “Suidlanders” with the Boeremag. Among them was a Suidlander oath.
And Mandela’s death was central to the Boeremag apocalypse, which predicted a massacre of whites after his funeral and a right-wing coup d’état. (See accompanying story.)
State witnesses in the Boeremag trial have described the organisation’s plans to stockpile fuel, weapons, ammunition, food and medicine and to create meeting points as a prelude to an uprising.
The emblem adopted by the Suidlanders, which appeared on their internet statement last week, is the same as that used by the Boeremag.
A police investigator said last week’s scaremongering was taken seriously by law enforcers and a possible Boeremag connection was being investigated.
The Suidlanders’ alleged leader is Gustav Muller, who is known to seen himself as the Joshua of the Afrikaner volk, appointed by God to lead it to freedom. The group’s spokesperson is Tanya du Preez, who in messages posted on the internet forum Boerevryheid.co.za signs herself “Racheltjie de Beer” — a famous Afrikaans folk heroine.
Since it was revealed in Rapport newspaper at the weekend that Mandela was alive, well and on holiday in Mozambique, and has since appeared at the birthday party of his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Du Preez has gone to ground.
The Suidlanders’ media campaign around Mandela has sparked a fierce row in right-wing circles. Some critics charge that it has heightened dissension and confusion among Afrikaners, others that the campaign is the brainchild of the National Intelligence Agency.
However, the campaign has clearly refocused fears on the white right of an impending racial holocaust sparked by Mandela’s death, which they call “The Night of the Long Knives” or “Operation Uhuru”.
On Boerevryheid.co.za, some bloggers have turned on the organisation “for crying wolf” and complained that the false reports would discredit any further action when a real “ uhuru” took place.
A DVD and SMSs have fuelled the scaremongering. The Mail & Guard- ian has heard the soundtrack of a DVD telling whites to flee the cities as soon as news of Mandela’s death is broadcast and head for safe havens such as the Heilbron Spar.
A number of bloggers have insinuated that the latest campaign is a government ploy to test how the “Boerevolk” would organise themselves in the event of uhuru. There is a widely supported feeling on the site that government agents planted the Mandela claims and that the Suidlanders could be a government ploy.
One poster wrote: “[Tanya] has cried wolf so many times about this same subject that I just don’t listen to anything she has to say anymore.” Another named “Transvaler” wrote: “These people have a hidden agenda.”
The forum’s administrator, medical doctor Lets Pretorius, who is also an accused in the Boeremag trial, told the M&G outside the Pretoria High Court this week that the forum aimed to liberate the “Boerevolk” rather than Afrikaners, who had usurped the original Boer identity that existed during the Great Trek and the Anglo-Boer War.
Pretorius also heads the Boerevolk Freedom Foundation, which aims to establish a volkstaat. He described the Mandela death claims as “disinformation”, adding that there was a definite attempt to discredit him and his efforts to unite the “Boerevolk”.
He was suspicious of a meeting to which he had been invited where efforts were made to forge links and cooperation with Suidlanders. “Gustav works for the government or he is naive, or a useful idiot. They fed him porridge and he swallowed it. I don’t know the answer. Maybe they used his aspirations to become an Afrikaner leader by feeding him information.”
But he added: “You should go and see our website. In three days there were 20 000 visits.
“On the forum we repeatedly called for people to remain calm.
“I’m glad Gustav wrote the story and put it out there. It has awakened people and prepared them for when uhuru happens. Siener van Rensburg predicted that those who are prepared, would be fine.”