Nelson Mandela was the target of a 2002 plot to overthrow the African National Congress and drive black residents out of South Africa. His assassination was planned by a white supremacist militia, led by former university lecturer Mike du Toit. On Tuedsday, the former academic was sentenced to a maximum of 35 years in prison.
Du Toit was one of 21 defendants sentenced in the assassination plot. Nine of the accused were released for time served. Officials said the trials have been the “longest-running and most expensive” in the South African history.
In 2002, the Boeremag militia was tied to nine bombings in Soweto township, Johannesburg. The group was also accused of planting five other car bombs throughout Johannesburg and Pretoria.
As reported by BBC, a landmine was planted along Nelson Mandela’s expected travel route. The former South African president avoided the assassination plot, as he chose to travel by helicopter on the day in question.
In addition to the assassination, the militia group planned to overtake the South African government and military. The plan was to drive all black and Indian residents out of South Africa, replacing them with white supremacists.
As reported by News.Com.Au, dozens were injured and one woman was killed in the 2002 bombings.
A total of 20 other defendants were arrested in the plot to assassinate Mandela and overthrow the government. All 20 were convicted of treason and five were convicted of murder. Their sentences rage from 10 to 30 years in prison.
Ironically, the sentences were handed down in the same court where Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for his fight against apartheid. After serving 27 years, he went on to become South Africa’s first black president.
The former leader is now 95 years old. He is currently at home with his family recovering from a long and serious illness. Nelson Mandela remains a hero for his strong will and perseverance in the fight for human rights.