Thursday 20 July 2017

Terreblanche's murder 'a declaration of war by blacks'

South African far-right leader Eugene Terreblanche giving a speech in 1994
South African far-right leader Eugene Terreblanche giving a speech in 1994

Sebastien Berger in Ventersdorp

Jacob Zuma, the South African president, pleaded for calm last night after supporters of Eugene Terreblanche, the white supremacist, said his murder was a "declaration of war" by the black community.

Members of the far-right AWB threatened vengeance after their leader was beaten to death in a dispute with two farm workers over unpaid wages.

Police said he was attacked with a machete and a club in his bed at his farm outside Ventersdorp, in South Africa's North West province, on Saturday night. Two men, aged 21 and 15, have been charged with murder.

Response

Andre Visagie, the AWB's secretary general and a leading candidate to succeed Mr Terreblanche, said the party was planning its response.

"The death of Mr Terreblanche is a declaration of war by the black community of South Africa to the white community that has been killed for 10 years on end," he said.

He added that there was "fierce anger" among AWB members, who sought revenge.

"There are people who threatened to start with violence. We encourage them to wait until we can launch co-ordinated actions right across the country."

He refused to rule out violence "if we don't have any option", and appealed for foreign intervention, including the provision of arms, "to assist us to defend us in this country". The ruling African National Congress (ANC) disputed Mr Visagie's statement and Mr Zuma called the killing a "terrible deed".

"South Africans must not allow agent provocateurs to take advantage of this situation by inciting or fuelling racial hatred," he said. "The murder of Terreblanche must be condemned, irrespective of how his killers think they may have been justified. They had no right to take his life."

Jackson Mthembu, a spokesman for the ANC, added: "The black community has never declared war on any other nationality in South Africa. These are sentiments that fuel polarisation of the South African populace."

Mr Terreblanche (69) rose to prominence in the 1980s, campaigning for a separate white homeland and championing a tiny minority determined to preserve apartheid. He later served a prison sentence for the attempted murder of a black security guard.

His death came amid an ongoing controversy over the Julius Malema, the ANC youth leader who sang an apartheid-era song that advocated killing white farmers at a rally.

Struggle

A South African court ruled that the song, which included the line "Kill the Boer", was illegal but the ANC has defended it as part of its heritage from the struggle against apartheid. Boer is Afrikaans for a farmer, but is often used as a disparaging term for any white in South Africa.

Disenchantment remains among blacks in South Africa, for whom the right to vote has not translated into jobs and better housing and education. Some consider themselves betrayed by their leaders.

Black empowerment has made millionaires of a tiny elite, while millions remain trapped in poverty, even as whites continue to enjoy a privileged lifestyle. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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