Rightwingers planned to “chop” off the snake’s head

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SABRINA DEA

Treason accused Johan Prinsloo allegedly told one of his employees that the snake’s head would be chopped off in December 2012.
Prinsloo is accused of treason, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and possession of illegal arms and ammunition for allegedly plotting to kill the ANC leadership during the party’s elective conference in Mangaung in 2012. The case is being heard by Free State High Court Judge Mojalefa Rampai.
State Advocate Torie Pretorius on Monday called one of Prinsloo’s farm employees, Gerrit Robbetze, to the stand. Robbetze claims Prinsloo told him that D-day would be between 9 and 18 December and that is when “the snake’s head would be chopped off”.
The court heard last week Thursday from Tollie Vreugdenburg, lead investigator in the Boeremag case, that he had taken a statement from Robbetze. He also recovered ammunition from a spot at a bridge at Nylsvlei that Robbetze pointed out to him. Vreugdenburg’s cross examination stood down to this week.
Rampai also ruled on Monday that evidence by task force member Andries Botha is admissible. The Defence last week argued that Botha’s testimony cannot be admitted because it amounts to a confession. In terms of section 217 of the Criminal Procedure Act a confession given to a policeman is only admissible in court if specific procedures have been followed.
However, Pretorius argued that this was not a confession of acts committed in the past, but rather amounts to executive statements of future acts planned as part of a conspiracy.
Rampai said he found both sides of the argument very interesting but had decided to allow the testimony. He did not give reasons for his decision.
Botha claims Prinsloo spoke about plans to attack fuel depots in the Eastern Cape, to secure weapons at 91 ammunition depot and plans for Prieska, as well as his intentions to watch the Mangaung attack on TV at his Naboomspruit farm. He claims Prinsloo made the comments to him and Deon Pretorius in Ficksburg on the night of 12 December.
Prinsloo has denied making such comments.
Last week also saw the conclusion of a gruelling five-day cross examination of informant Jaco Scherman. Scherman told the court earlier he had been recruited to infiltrate rightwing organisations. He admitted he received payment for reports provided to his handler.

Defence advocate Johan Nell put it to Scherman that Prinsloo was never involved in any attempts to secure weapons for offensive purposes, such as an attack on the ANC elective conference in Mangaung.
He claims any such involvement was related to defensive plans following statements by political agitator Julius Malema over intentions to hijack the conference and sow anarchy.
Scherman disagreed, however, insisting Prinsloo was directly involved in planning an attack on Mangaung and also provided money for attempts to purchase arms. He says this planning happened in his presence.
Task force member Captain Johan Fryer also testified last week.
The case has been set down to continue until the end of this week.