page 248 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_248.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 8-248

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_248.jpg]

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  • 1976 - (Creation)

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page

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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such trials arose during the first World War when Generals Beyers, De Wet, De La Rey, Kemp, Colonel Maritz and other Afrikaners rebelled against the declaration of war against Germany by South Africa. Some felt that the country should remain neutral whilst others favoured the breaking of all ties with Britain and declaring an independent republic. When the Botha Smuts government refused to accept either of these demands 12,000 Afrikaners rebelled and occupied towns, destroyed government installations and caused damage of no less than £ 500 000. About 300 people died and hundreds were injured. The rebellion was ultimately crushed and the rebels arrested and prosecuted. Jopie Fourie who was an officer in the Defence Force was sentenced to death by a military court and executed. General De Wet, accepted as the leader of the rebellion was sentenced to 6 years plus a fine of £2,000 and Kemp got 7 years plus a fine of £1,000. Others received lesser sentences. Within 6 months De Wet was released and the rest within a year.

On the whole the government acted leniently towards the rebels. Botha and Smuts were dealing with their own flesh and blood and it was not easy for them to be harsh. Before launching a full scale attack on De Wet, they promised all rebels immunity from criminal proceedings if they surrendered with in a specified time. Although no such offer was made to the ring leaders and to those who had broken the laws of civilized warfare we know that, with the exception of Jopie Fourie, all the rebels were released before they had served their full terms.

The second series of treason trials arose out of the Second World War and one that attracted much attention was that of Robey Liebrandt, one time heavy weight boxing champion of South Africa.

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