Not yet uhuru

Doc­u­ments on Bo­eremag ac­cused’s com­puter link or­gan­i­sa­tion with Suid­lan­ders

Mail & Guardian - - National - Yolandi Groe­newald and Pearlie Jou­bert

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.”

Some of the Bo­eremag mem­bers ac­cused of trea­son ap­pear in the Palace of Jus­tice, where the Rivo­nia tri­al­ists faced death 38 years ago. Among the am­mu­ni­tion con­fis­cated at their ar­rest was a bucket filled with com­mer­cial ex­plo­sives, ap­par­ently meant for...

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