Far-right fury as black teenager is cleared of Terreblanche murder
A BLACK teenage farm worker has been acquitted of murdering Eugene Terreblanche, South Africa's far-right leader, in a case that has polarised racial groups in the country.
Patrick Ndlovu, who was 15 at the time of the killing, confessed his role in the crime to police, but a lack of forensic evidence and a failure by detectives to treat him as a minor led to a judge ruling in his favour.
A second farm worker, Chris Mahlangu (29) was found guilty of murder, attempted robbery and housebreaking.
As the verdict was read out in the farming town of Ventersdorp, there were clashes between hundreds of uniform-clad white-supremacist groups and local supporters of the two defendants, which were broken up by riot police.
Mr Terreblanche rose to prominence in the 1980s with angry speeches calling for a separate Boer nation. He was beaten to death with a machete and an iron bar in the bedroom of his farmhouse in April 2010. He was aged 69.
Following his death, Ndlovu and Mahlangu handed themselves in to police. Mr Terreblanche was found lying on his bed with deep wounds to his head and body. His genitals were exposed and blood covered the walls and floor.
Mahlangu had claimed that he killed Mr Terreblanche in self-defence after the extremist had sexually assaulted him.
Judge John Horn dismissed the suggestion that Mr Terreblanche was killed because of his political views.
"There was no conspiracy, no political intrigue, no racial undertones and no hidden agenda," he ruled.
Judge Horn said there was no forensic evidence linking Ndlovu to the scene and that because the teenager, now 18, had also been deprived of sleep and proper counsel by police, he would give him the "benefit of the doubt".
However, his decision provoked the ire of Mr Terreblanche's family.
Andre Nienaber, Mr Terreblanche's nephew, said: "There were two murder weapons, so there must have been two murderers." He added that the fight for a separate nation for Afrikaners would continue and warned of potential violent protests over the murders of white farmers, which have claimed more than 3,000 lives since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994.
Mahlangu will be sentenced on June 18, along with Ndlovu, who was convicted of a minor charge of housebreaking with intent to steal at Mr Terreblanche's farm. (© Daily Telegraph, London)