Four white South Africans charged with ANC bomb plot

Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:47am EST
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By Jon Herskovitz

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) - Four white South Africans were charged with treason on Tuesday for plotting to bomb a conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and kill President Jacob Zuma "execution style".

Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said the men had planned to attack an ANC meeting, currently under way in the city of Bloemfontein, as a step towards carving an independent Boer republic out of Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid "Rainbow Nation".

The four, named as Mark Trollip, John Martin Keevy, Johan Prinsloo and Hein Boonzaaier, were brought into court surrounded by police and security guards armed with assault rifles.

Their lawyers did not enter a plea, and the men, aged between 40 and 50 and dressed in shirts and jeans, remained silent and impassive throughout the 20-minute hearing.

The vast majority of whites accepted the ANC victory in the 1994 election that brought Mandela to power and ended decades of white-minority rule. However, a tiny minority continues to oppose the historic political settlement.

The attack plan, which the plotters code-named "The Slaughter of Mangaung" - 'cheetah' in the local Sesotho language - included a mortar bomb attack on marquees housing ANC delegates.

That was to be followed by a ground assault targeting Zuma and cabinet ministers as they had dinner, Abrahams told the court. Zuma and others were to be shot "in execution style", he said.

The intention of the group, which had been trying to buy AK-47 assault rifles, was "directly aimed at eliminating the leadership of this country," Abrahams said.   Continued...

President Jacob Zuma (L) speaks with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the start of the 53rd National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein, December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings