Gangsterism‚ drugs and overcrowding are some of the things that South African prisons are notorious for but for some prisoners behind the tall brick and green walls of Leeuwkop Correctional Centre in the middle of Bryanston‚ Johannesburg‚ being behind bars has come as a blessing.
One of those prisoners is 45-year-old Kobus Pretorius‚ who was part of the apartheid loyalists of the Boeremag‚ who tried to overthrow the South African government in an attempted coup in 2002 and planned to assassinate former president Nelson Mandela.
During their mission – which included two of his brothers‚ his father and several other people – his role was to manufacture bombs.
“I’ve been in prison since December 2002 so this is my 16th year in prison‚ but I’m only five years into my sentence now‚” said Pretorius‚ who was convicted of high treason.
In October 2013‚ his trial was finally concluded. He was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Ten years were suspended.
“Since [my incarceration]‚ I questioned many things about my upbringing and I completely changed as a person‚” said Pretorius‚ who explained that he grew up in right-wing white home.