Cornelia De Wet became a South African political prisoner and victim of misrepresentation who was placed in South African prison. De Wet, an ordinary South African citizen, lived on a farm and abided within the parameters of the law until she joined a right-wing group known as the Leeuwag/Panzer Protection. The group worked to promote and assist white South Africans who were desperately in need of assistance.
She became passionately involved in the project to feed Boer children at schools. Her drive to promote the awareness of sufferings led to her being drawn into a faction of hatred and the realization of safety for the Boer people of South Africa. The group operated as police informants and she accompanied some of its members during unethical operations. While under the influence of the members, De Wet remained a loyal supporter and organizer of the group. She admitted that she was unaware of all their operations and knew little about the attempts to place bombs around the country in an attempt to kill or injure black people.
Developments within the right-wing group changed and she was banished from the group, leading to untold misery for her family. Members of the Leeuwwag group did not want De Wet to talk and terrorized her by attempting to break into her property, endanger her and her children’s life. At one time, members of the group locked her and her children in their house and set it alight. Fortunately, she survived this ordeal.
The real nightmare began when police officers invaded her home, found explosives and ammunition and immediately arrested her. She was thrown into the back of a police care and taken to prison. Facing the hardened criminals in a holding cell, she could do little while waiting for her first court appears.
The following day De Wet stood before the judge and was officially charged with unlawful possession of explosives and ammunition. The case was postponed without bail being set and she was placed in the Middleburg Prison. For the next two years, she was transferred to various other prisons and unable to afford legal assistance, the state supplied representative. This did not secure a bail application and only after serving two years was bail finally allowed.
During the imprisonment term, De Wet was subject to brutal treatment and the trauma of dealing with the confines of the prison did not bode well. The unexpected torment and planned rape by black police officials was devastating and still causes her to tremble at the thought of a devious plan by authorities. De Wet did not have an easy life in prison, being white and charged with illegal arms and explosives. The prison officials treated her with disrespect since she, after all, was a threat to their democratic government.
After being released from prison, she remained determined to secure evidence and prove her innocence. Dealing with the betrayal of her white counterparts and being the victim of a black rape ordeal was trying and often caused her to slip into severe depression. Desperately in need of trauma counseling and in search of the truth, De Wet began to rebuild her life and took on the responsibility of clearing her name of any wrongdoing.
As a soldier armed for battle, she ventured to get the evidence needed and in doing so, found further repression from her white counterparts.
De Wet will reappear in court during July 2014. After revealing the names of some informants, she is determined to tell the truth and expose the criminal elements of the underworld even though this remains a difficult task to accomplish.
Seeking local and international support, De Wet has told her story in the quest to get the truth to be heard. The world can look upon her and the difficulty of trying to stay alive in the confines of prison hell. In a country where racial hatred and injustices run deep, the brave De Wet gains little support and continues to receive death threats, abuse and torment because of her blinded kindness. The perpetrators continue to deny planting weapons on her farm inciting that she was a criminally-minded member who wanted to kill black people from pure hatred. The organization has a strong support structure leading to government officials who will rather risk the life of one woman than own up to the truth that they are shallow underhanded demons utilizing companies as fronts to secure a dominant position in the political structure of South Africa.
Cornelia De Wet, a South African political prisoner, awaits the outcome of her trial next month in anticipation of being found not guilty. The expectation of a fair trial for her is not without unwarranted concern, especially as the justice system displays a failing structure within South Africa.
Opinion by Laura Oneale