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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - David Beresford Pratt : die mens agter die sluipmoordpoging : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

Hierdie artikel ontleed die motiewe van David Pratt om op 9 April 1960, tydens die Unie Skou, die destydse eerste minister, dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, te skiet. Daar is drie moontlike motiewe ter sprake. Een storie wat destyds in omloop was, is dat Verwoerd 'n verhouding met Pratt se Nederlandse vrou gehad het en dat die skietvoorval deur wraak motiveer kon wees. Die prokureur-generaal, adv. W.R. Rein, het moeite gedoen om hierdie bewerings nie in die hof te laat opduik nie. Hoewel die tese vergesog klink, kan dit moontlik 'n leidraad in 'n ander rigting bied wat meer lig werp op die krisis in Pratt se huwelik, wat sy verlosser-sindroom versterk het. 'n Tweede tese is jare later opgestel deur die vennoot van Pratt se neuroloog. Dr. Allan Bird het in sy memoires beweer dat sy kollega, dr. Solly Jacobson, wat 'n lid van die verbode Kommunistiese Party was en ná die Rivonia-klopjag landuit gevlug het, kop in een mus was met Pratt. Volgens hom het hulle die sluipmoord saam beplan. Jacobson sou dan getuig dat Pratt weens epilepsie ontoerekeningsvatbaar is sodat hy nie strafregtelik tereg moes staan nie. Die derde scenario, wat ook deur die hof aanvaar is op grond van die psigiatriese verslae van verskeie neuroloë wat destyds aan die hof voorgelê is, is dat Pratt op die ingewing van die oomblik gehandel het. Hy was manies-depressief en het aan 'n psigotiese verlosser-sindroom gely. Die tipiese metodiek wat regsgeleerdes benut om gevallestudies te beoordeel, word aangewend om vas te stel watter bewering die mees waarskynlike is. Die doel van die artikel is om 'n histories meer gebalanseerde beeld van David Pratt as mens te skep. Die studie het dus beoog om meer uit te vind oor Pratt se persoonlike omstandighede. Getuienis uit verskeie regsgedinge waarin Pratt betrokke was, is as uitgangspunt geneem om sy privaatlewe beter te belig. Die leemtes is aangevul deur destydse koerantberigte en ander optekeninge van tydgenote wat hom geken het.


This article investigates the motives of David Pratt's assassination attempt on the then prime minister, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, during the opening of the Union Show on 9 April, 1960. The assassination of Verwoerd by Demitrio Tsafendas has been covered well, but the circumstances which prompted Pratt to shoot Verwoerd have not yet been extensively explored.
Over the years three scenarios have been mooted in an attempt to explain Pratt's action. The first is that Pratt attacked Verwoerd out of revenge. Shortly after the attempted assassination a rumour spread that Pratt's Dutch wife might have had a relationship with the prime minister, who was also of Dutch descent. The attorney-general, Adv. Rein, took pains to prevent this fairy tale from surfacing in court. Unlikely as this lead might be to explain Pratt's motive for shooting Verwoerd, his wife may indeed have had an affair with another man, which could have contributed to Pratt's desperate state of mind. According to the second scenario, Pratt was suffering from epilepsy and serious depression. As the crisis in his personal life escalated, he found an escape mechanism to handle the crisis at a different level, in a political context. The third scenario postulates a conspiracy between Pratt and Dr Solly Jacobson, his psychiatrist, who was also a dedicated member of the underground Communist Party and a close friend of Joe Slovo. Jacobson's partner, Dr Allan Bird, contended that the two of them worked out a plan for Pratt to assassinate Verwoerd. Jacobson would then bail him out with medical evidence so that he could not be held criminally liable. Bird did not refer to the mysterious red note that was handed to the prime minister only weeks before the assassination attempt. The note contained a threat: "Today we kill Verwoerd."

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/content/litnet/9/3/EJC129813
2012-12-01
2016-12-05
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