Judge Jordaan said the Boeremag’s aim had been to destroy democracy in South Africa with this plot, according to South Africa Press Association. Had Mandela been killed, South Africa could have seen further unrest and bloodshed.
The members of the bomb squad were sentenced to an additional 13 years’ imprisonment on charges of culpable homicide and conspiring to murder Mandela. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Having already served 10 years, and getting 10 years suspension, those getting the heaviest sentences will serve about 15 more years, Simasiku said.
Another leader of the group Mike du Toit, who was a former teacher at a segregated apartheid-era university, was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment, of which 10 years were conditionally suspended for five years, according to SAPA.
His wife, Ester du Toit, said that while she didn’t agree with the court’s decision, “It is closure for me in the sense that I now know which way to go forward.”
The guilty include former engineers, medical doctors and military officers.
This was one of South Africa’s longest running trials and it was one of the most expensive costing the country about 36 million rand ($3.6 million), according to the non-governmental group, Legal Aid.
More than 150 witnesses were called in the trial that also saw dozens of postponements and numerous legal wrangles, including applications about the jail conditions. Two members of the bomb squad, Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws, escaped while on trial in 2006 but were recaptured in 2007.
Boeremag is an extreme group of Afrikaners, the white South Africans of Dutch, French and German descent who ruled the country under the racist apartheid regime that ended in 1994. Some fringe groups support a return of racist apartheid rule in South Africa, where white-dominated governments ruled for centuries before the country’s first truly democratic elections in 1994.