The Star Late Edition
Boeremag two quietly released on parole
ONE of the Boeremag’s bomb manufacturers, Kobus Pretorius, and his father Dr Lets Pretorius were quietly released on parole last year.
They and others prepared the homemade bomb which was to be placed to injure or kill the then president, Nelson Mandela, in 2002 while he was on his way to open a school in Bolobedu, Limpopo.
Both had been sentenced at the end of the country’s first treason trial under the new dispensation in 2013. The father and son served about seven years of their 20-year jail term.
The Department of Justice and Correctional Services confirmed that they were granted parole after serving the required minimum number of years in jail. The two met the requirements to be placed on parole.
Pretorius sr, a medical doctor, has been reunited with his wife Minnie Pretorius, who has stood by his side since the arrest her husband and three sons around 2002.
Her two other sons, Wilhelm, a theologian, and Johan, also a medical doctor, are still in jail. Both were sentenced to 25 years each for their roles in the acts of treason.
Kobus Pretorius broke away from his family halfway through the trial and denounced his parents. He blamed them and his upbringing for his crimes and now lives with his spiritual counsellor, Sonia Jordaan, and her husband.
They stood by Kobus for a large duration of the trial, and he at the time said he regarded them as his new parents.
In a failed application brought earlier to be released on parole, Kobus said he was rehabilitated to such an extent that there was no need for him to serve jail time.
Kobus asked that certain provisions of the Correctional Services Act be amended to make it possible for a prisoner to be released on parole earlier if “exceptional circumstances” were present.
The judge at the time refused and said Kobus and his co-accused were sentenced on serious charges, which included plans to overthrow the then new government and conspiracy to murder Mandela.
She said the trial judge, Judge Eben Jordaan, took into account all the mitigating factors when he sentenced Kobus to 20 years.
She said the court was fair to him at the time, as the prosecution had called for a life sentence.
Kobus said he was now a different person with changed values and goals.
Lets Pretorius and his other two sons subsequently also asked to be released during an application in 2019.