Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 13:40 GMT
Fire guts Boesak's house
Mr Boesak's Cape Town home was completely gutted
The fire has left Mr Boesak in a state of shock
South African police are investigating what they suspect was an arson attack on the Cape Town home of former anti-apartheid campaigner, Allan Boesak.

The fire which ravaged the house, came just hours before Mr Boesak was due to appeal against his conviction for fraud and six-year jail sentence.

He was found guilty last year of fraud and theft involving about $200,000 of aid money, and was sentenced to six years in jail.

The 54-year-old clergyman, who was already in Bloemfontein for the start of the Appeal Court case, said he had "absolutely no doubts" that the fire was started by someone determined to prolong a vendetta against him.

"My wife and I are in a state of terrible shock having lost almost all of our remaining possessions," he said.

He told journalists a neighbour saw a man starting the blaze and then running away.

Children unhurt

Mr Boesak's 21-year-old daughter and some friends who were in the home escaped uninjured.


Allan Boesak
Allan Boesak: "Six years of hell"
"We are so thankful that our baby and eight-year-old daughter are with family in Cape Town and were not in the house at the time of the fire," he said.

"The fire destroyed the baby's room and she would have been dead now had she been in the house at the time."

Mr Boesak was convicted by Cape Town High Court in March last year of embezzling funds donated by US musician Paul Simon, the Swedish development agency and other foreign donors.

The money was donated to the organisation he headed, the Foundation for Peace and Justice, to fund the struggle against apartheid

The trial gripped many South Africans, who were deeply shocked to hear the allegations directed against this former champion of the anti-apartheid struggle.

Mr Boesak will argue in the Appeal Court that he was convicted only on circumstantial evidence.

He says some foreign donors had earmarked money as a gift for him.

Should the court refuse his leave to appeal, he will go to jail immediately and begin serving his sentence.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Africa Contents

Country profiles
See also:

24 Mar 99 | Africa
Anti-apartheid hero jailed
Links to other Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories