by Jani Allan
Thursday, August 19, 2004 The plot and story line are pure Dostoyevski. The police, on trumped up charges of treason, round up twenty-two men. They are kept in inhumane conditions in maximum-security jails and refused bail. Witnesses are tortured into "confessing." With 260 witnesses called, it will take the State more than 22 years to present its case. Another 22 years will pass while the cross-examination turgidly proceeds.
When one hears of anyone spending 22 years in jail (what happened to the 'presumed innocent until proved guilty?) one assumes the hapless person/persons live in a gulag.
No so. This bizarre situation is currently happening in South Africa, the country that boasts the most democratic, user-friendly and Politically Correct human rights constitution in the world.
Combating crime is very low on the African National Congresses list of priorities.
The mere mention of South Africa's appalling crime levels (more than 48,000 murders a year for a country that has a population of only 40 million), irritates the ANC. Anyone who dares to bring up the subject is instantly called a 'racist.'
For this reason, some have suggested that it was with uncharacteristic alacrity and enthusiasm that 22 Afrikaners were arrested and jailed, after a series of small bomb blasts across South Africa. Unlike 911, this terrorism did not require any serious investigation into its root causes or possible culpability. It required only condemnation, because the bombs were widely advertised as being the work of 'white right-wingers.'
In the State versus Michael Teshert du Toit and twenty two others, case number CC91/2003, Supreme Court of South Africa that is currently being heard in Pretoria, the men are on charges and allegations that as members of an alleged organization called "the Boeremag" they were conspiring to overthrow the government in South Africa, to commit sabotage and to possess illegal weapons, ammunition and explosives. Irony is never far from the surface in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela and his fellow communist Rivonia Trialists were on similar charges. However, Mandela and his Communist co-conspirators, were given a swift and fair trial. Mandela was found guilty of planning to blow up most of Pretoria. He had enough plastic explosives to do it when he was caught at Lilies Leaf Farm in Rivonia. Few people are aware that Amnesty International never recognized Mandela as a political prisoner. He was a terrorist.
In a Communist guidebook used by the ANC in the 1980's, there are instructions on how comrades (communists) should behave if arrested.
"Everything," it stresses, "must be done to help the arrested comrade by providing legal representation, publicity, food and reading material if possible, solidarity with the family protests should be organized."
I am unaware of people rallying to show solidarity with the families of the Boeremag 22. Neither am I aware that protests or publicity have been generated.
Last week, Dr Paul Kruger submitted documentation outlining the torture and inhumane treatment of the detainees, to Amnesty International in Amsterdam.
Formidable South African-Dutch journalist Ms Adriana Stuijt accompanied Dr Kruger to Amnesty International where comprehensive talks were held. Ms Stuijt, who has impeccable liberal credentials and a website to prove her pedigree as an anti-apartheid activist, is determined to bring the world's attention to the Boeremag 22.
Says Ms Stuijt 'They were set up by a paid ANC agent and an Afrikaner sell-out who even created the name for the organization. Their people were politically naive. It's a travesty of justice."
In a country where satire frequently overtakes reality, the claims about agent provocateurs - government spies and infiltrators - are often close to the truth.
During a political meeting at the Espada Ranch on November 15, a top ANC official, one Mo Shaik suggested "One easy way to identify Afrikaner right wingers and eliminate them is to start new rightwing organizations which will be under the control of the security forces and where they will be lured. These organizations can then be controlled by the ANC-government's secret agents, managed and their members eliminated.'
Whether the Boeremag 22 were indeed set-up is a moot point.
Less moot are two issues that need to be addressed.
The first is that there is indeed a pattern of ethnic cleansing against the boers/Afrikaners/whites emerging in Southern Africa.
An Afrikaner academic noted that "the farm murders, the show trials and bogus charges, the Afrikaner business people who are increasingly being gunned down in the towns, the blonde haired blue-eyed Afrikaners children who are being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery by tribal gangs - all are indicative that Thabo Mbeki has a hatred for the Afrikaners that borders on the pathological hatred Hitler had for the Jews."
"Under the UN Genocide Convention, any government actions taken to deliberately destroy the cultural identity of any ethnic minority are culpable of a form of genocide. Given this, Mr Mbeki's regime is culpable of genocide," says Ms Stuijt.
The second issue is the mockery the ANC makes of the Constitution and the frighteningly brutal punishment that those they perceive as enemies must expect to be meted out to them.
Amnesty International recently wrote a report on the inhumane conditions that currently exist in South African prisons. A delegation from Amnesty found that there were some 214 "mysterious' deaths in police custody during 2003. At least 317 people died at the hands of police. In some incidents the police deliberately killed people instead of arresting them.
They cited the case in Pollsmoor Prison in the Cape where youths younger than 14 were arrested and thrown in prison with hardened criminals. Wardens were paid so that these children could be raped. According to the Jali Commission of Enquiry into Corruptions in prison, the going rate for providing a rape victim is $5.
There are some 25,000 trial-awaiting prisoners in South Africa. All are kept with convicted murderers and rapists.
Pretoria Central (C Max) Prison, designed to house no more than 1900 detainees, has more than 5,500 inmates. Inmates are kept in atrocious conditions. Earlier this year Judge Essop Patel requested that the Pretoria Bar Council appoint advocates investigating the fact that inmates were being incarcerated under conditions that violated their human rights.
Water is scarce, pipes are broken and electrical wires hang loose from the rafters. The prison's foundation is suffused with sewage water and the prisoners are detained in their cockroach and rat-infested cells for 22 out of 24 hours. Detainees are subjected twenty-four seven to blaring rap music.
At night, the temperatures plummet to below zero in the wintertime, but there are no windows to close. Windowpanes have long since been broken.
According to a report recently handed to the city's high court by two advocates, Pretoria Central is "a time bomb" waiting to explode.
The Jali Commision, which was set up in April this year to investigate claims of corruption in prisons, found the culture of abuse to be rampant.
Unlike Mandela and the Rivonia Trialists who were all communist atheists, the Boeremag 22 are said to be devout Christians and family men. The list of the accused includes a 26 year old who was studying for his Masters degree in Theology. He often delivered sermons at the Afrikaans Protestant Church.
In a sworn statement he describes his violent arrest by members of the South African Police Services.
"I was then taken out of the vehicle and put on a huge plastic bag on the ground. I was forced to lie on my stomach on the bag. They then started to pull the bag over my head, suffocating me. Thereafter a tube was pulled over my face. My head was pulled backwards violently."
This method generally known, as 'tubing' was what white policemen did with black political detainees during the Apartheid era.
Some believe that the Afrikaner tribe was once a nation of heroes. The Voortrekkers, in attempting to carve out some place for themselves in Southern Africa, where they could find a future, ventured into places which the ancient mariners might have described as 'Beyond this place there be dragons."
This is the place in which the white tribe now find themselves.
There is no sound in the bushveld save the thudding heart of the Boer nation in angst.
Who will dare to show compassion for those who cower in the shattered laager?