Free State coup suspect agrees to a plea bargain

Mark Trollip
Mark Trollip

One of the accused in a rightwing coup plot case has agreed to a plea bargain, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Wednesday.

During the appearance of Mark Trollip, 48, and Johan Hendrik Prinsloo, 49, prosecutor Torie Pretorius read the details of a plea and sentencing agreement between the State and Trollip.

He and Prinsloo face charges of high treason and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts for their involvement in plans to bomb the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung last December.

In terms of the plea and sentence agreement, Trollip would plead guilty on the conspiracy charge and the State would withdraw the high treason charge.

Pretorius said one of the reasons taken into account with the plea agreement was that no lives were lost and no damage was done. The accused also could not obtain any weapons for the execution of their plans.

According to the charge sheet, Trollip and Prinsloo planned to acquire weaponry such as AK-47, R1 and R4 rifles to execute the coup.

Pretorius said Trollip, who was the self-proclaimed leader of the organisation Wit Brandwag, expressed remorse and was willing to co-operate with the police after his arrest.

Some of the plans were unrealistic, but the State felt that if the accused were successful, many lives would have been lost and caused racial tension.

Under the plea agreement, Trollip would serve a prison sentence of eight years. Trollip is represented by Kenny Pretorius. – Sapa