Some Boeremag tapes may be usable

30th January 2004

The Boeremag treason trial heard yesterday that some of the tape recordings secretly made by police during several Boeremag meetings may be usable.

This was despite earlier claims by the prosecution that all of the tapes, which police spy Johan JC Smit claimed he had helped to make, were inaudible and could not be used.

Yesterday, chief prosecutor Paul Fick told the Pretoria High Court there were a total of 11 tapes, of which eight had been handed to the defence counsel.

All of these tapes had been examined by different sets of experts and were found not to be usable.

He however revealed that three tapes might contain usable information and were presently being transcribed.

It would be handed over to the defence as soon as it was ready.

Fick also revealed that the originals of all of the tapes were no longer available as the tapes had been used again for other purposes.

Only duplicates, or "original working copies" were still available.

Smit, who claimed to have infiltrated the inner circle of the Boeremag and testified about a series of meetings where a violent coup was planned, for the first time revealed the existence of the tape recordings during cross examination.

This caused the defence counsel to demand access to the tapes, which they said could supply evidence in support of their clients' version.

Advocate Harry Prinsloo, appearing for one of the alleged Boeremag leaders Mike du Toit, again confronted Smit with evidence he said a Chris Streicher would give for the defence.

Streicher, an arms dealer of Potchefstroom, will go on trial for the alleged murder of Nic van Rensburg, owner of the First Defence Training Institute in Centurion, later this year.

Smit denied claims by Streicher that he (Smit) had opened a door at Van Rensburg's house for Streicher, after which he had stolen Van Rensburg's hard drive and computer on the orders of police handler Superintendent Louis Pretorius.

He admitted that he had been at the house when Streicher stole the computer box, but insisted that Streicher had broken down the door with a hammer.

He also denied telling Streicher that he had money problems, that Streicher had given him R2 500 or that Streicher had offered to help him hide from police if the need arose.

Smit flatly denied that he had discussed a document setting out a detailed coup plan with Streicher at a church camp or that they had discussed Smit's involvement in making bombs and access to explosives.

The trial continues today. – Sapa.