S.Africa party suspends leaders facing treason charges

19th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

A party for South Africa's minority Afrikaaners announced Wednesday it had suspended its leader and another senior official after they were charged over a plot to kill President Jacob Zuma.

The newly founded Federal Freedom Party (FFP), which campaigns for a separate state for white minority Afrikaners, announced the move against its president Hein Boonzaaier and operations manager Johan Prinsloo.

They and two other suspects were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of planning to kill Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, ministers and senior officials of the ruling African National Congress.

They appeared in court on Tuesday on treason and terrorism charges and were ordered to remain in jail until their next hearing on January 8.

The FFP's executive council decided to suspend the two until further notice at an emergency meeting Wednesday.

"With the recent events the executive council of the party have no choice (but) to suspend these two members," party secretary Francois Cloete said in a statement.

The party denied any role in the alleged plot, saying it wanted to establish self-determination through peaceful means. It is preparing to run in the 2014 national and elections.

State prosecutors alleged the suspects had been planning acts of sabotage since the beginning of the year and had to act during the ANC's elective conference this week.

Security has been extremely tight at the conference, with razor wire thrown up around a perimeter of the University of Free State where around 4,000 party delegates are gathered, guarded by armed police.

In August, 20 people were convicted of high treason over a plot to kill Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country.

The "Boeremag" organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government.

© 2012 AFP

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