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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
SA jail-house rap ends
Frederick Johannes Naude, one of the accused, arrives at court
The trial has been repeatedly delayed
A South African judge has ordered prison authorities to stop broadcasting a radio station which plays "black" music, after complaints by a group of alleged white extremists facing treason charges.

However, the alleged right-wingers must first buy portable radios - and batteries - for those inmates of Section A5 of Pretoria's C-Max prison, who wish to continue listening to music.

The 13 alleged members of the extremist Boeremag or Afrikaner Force said the high-volume broadcasting of Metro FM, which mostly plays Rhythm and Blues, rap and South African kwaito music was a form of "psychological torture".

Why was a federal issue made of something that could have been resolved with a little bit of goodwill?
Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann
Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann said the correctional services did not dispute that one of the accused, Kobus Pretorius, had suffered a nervous breakdown, with the loud music being a determining factor.

National sporting events would still be broadcast throughout the prison, the judge ruled.

The men, along with nine others, face a total of 42 charges, including high treason, murder, attempted murder, terrorism and the illegal possession of weapons.

Music upgrade

The prison authorities said they were upgrading the broadcasting system in C-Max and in a portion of Central Prison at a cost of nearly 1m rands ($135,000).

Individual speakers will be installed in cells so inmates can choose whether they wanted to listen to the communal system or not, however they will not be offered a choice of stations, unless they have their own radios.

Police in Soweto
The men are accused of organising a series of blasts last December

But the judge said that this matter should have been dealt with by the prison authorities.

"Why was a federal issue made of something that could have been resolved with a little bit of goodwill?" he asked.

The trial was supposed to start in May but has been repeatedly postponed.

Last month, a judge refused a request to make South Africa's last white President FW de Klerk testify on the validity of the multi-racial constitution which ended apartheid.

They are accused of the murder of Claudia Mokone who was killed in a bomb blast in the black township of Soweto last December.

Prosecutors say they also conspired to kill Nelson Mandela by blowing up a car transporting the former president to a public event.

SA police seek 'extremists'
12 Mar 03  |  Africa


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