Johannesburg: A white supremacist group, which plotted a right-wing coup in South Africa, also planned to ship the country`s 1.2 million Indian-origin citizens back to India, according to details of the plot revealed in a treason trial here.
The plan, decried as absurd by local Indian leaders, was part of several hatched by Afrikaner supremacist Mike du Toit, who has been convicted on charges of high treason in the high court, the first person found guilty of such a crime since democracy was achieved in South Africa in 1994.
Among the plans was one to assassinate the first democratically-elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela; drive the majority black population into the sea; and kill all whites who were opposed to the plans for a whites-only state.
Former university lecturer Du Toit and 20 other apartheid loyalists from the Boeremag (Afrikaans for Boer Army) have been part of a marathon nine-year trial.
Two others have also already been found guilty of high treason as Judge Eben Jordaan delivers judgement which has already gone into a second week and is expected to take a month more.
Du Toit had come up with the idea of shipping South African Indians back to India because they largely descended from the first Indians who arrived from there on boats from 1860 onwards to work on sugarcane plantations as indentured labourers.
The Boeremag also planned to use Indian South Africans who had cooperated with the minority white apartheid-era government to help achieve their plans, after which they would kill them.
"Certainly (the Boeremags) belief that Indian South Africans would assist in toppling government was naive," commented Aakash Bramdeo, the editor of the weekly Post, the country`s largest newspaper for the Indian community.
"Indian South Africans may be outspoken in their criticism against corruption, crime and the lack of service delivery. But it would be wrong for anyone to interpret this forthrightness as being unpatriotic," said Bramdeo.
"The indentured labourers who came to this country just over 150 years ago had the option of returning to India. Some did, but others chose to make South Africa their home.
They fought to become fully fledged South Africans and continue to play a pivotal role in building a new South Africa".