Nelson Mandela was targetted by
extreme right-group that wished
to see the return of Apartheid

State prosecutors say that the accused belong to a right-wing group Boermag, also known as Afrikaaner Force, which carried out a series of bomb attacks and planned to assassinate South African president Nelson Mandela.

They are said to have planned to destabilise the country and then stage a coup and recreate a whites-only Afrikaaner state.

They are also facing charges of terrorism, murder, and a plot to assassinate former South African president Nelson Mandela.

The plan involved bombing Mandela’s motorcade as he travelled to a school in the north last year. It failed because Mandela travelled by helicopter instead.

According to South African media reports the Boermag planned to exploit the violence the assassination would unleash among black South Africans to stage a coup.

"Their plan was to cause a series of riots to divert the attention of the security forces," said the Daily Star.

"Make it dark, but ensure that electricity supplies can be fixed in five days. Eliminate traitors. Take over radio stations", were some of the instructions drawn up by the group in a secret plan called Dokument 12, said the Star.

"Blame power failures on black people. Call white people to arms. Stop public transport and ground the air force. Take charge of or destroy defence force bases. Kill blacks and Indians. Destroy all non-Christian places of worship."

Prosecutors allege that Boermag aimed to reinstate the old Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Vrystatat. The republics formed part of a Union consisting of South African states and British-controlled provinces of Natal and the Cape in 1910 after the Afrikaaners lost the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the century.

The accused are aged between 22 and 54. Their appearance in court follows a series of arrests since October last year.

The state has more than 360 witnesses and 600 witness statements, and the trial is expected to last two years.

It is also thought that the case will become a trial within a trial as the men challenge the legality of the court to hear their case.

The trial is also expected to be littered with postponements and adjournments.

At Monday's hearing, the trial was postponed for a week following legal arguments.