Confusion over AWB leadership
Gert Coetzee, Volksblad
Bloemfontein - There is currently great confusion regarding exactly who the new leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) is, complicated by the fact that various spokespeople for the organisation have been making contradictory statements.
Steyn van Ronge told Die Burger on Wednesday that he has a written appointment by Eugene Terre'Blanche, dated March 12, stating that he is the new leader of the AWB.
The secretary-general of the AWB, André Visagie from Kimberley, is not aware of Van Ronge's appointment.
Van Ronge, a farmer from the eastern Free State, was introduced as the new leader of the AWB by Pieter Steyn during a news conference at the AWB headquarters in Ventersdorp on Tuesday.
In response to questions from the media at the news conference, the AWB's executive management confirmed Van Ronge's appointment, adding that it's a permanent appointment.
Steyn has acted as AWB spokesperson in Ventersdorp since the murder of Terre'Blanche.
Steyn also renounced an earlier claim by Visagie that the organisation would arm itself to avenge Terre'Blanche's death. Afterwards it was reported that Visagie said Steyn's statements are devoid of any truth.
According to Visagie, Steyn is not a member of the AWB's executive council and does not speak on behalf of the AWB.
Van Ronge said on Wednesday that Visagie, who used to be the spokesperson for the AWB, is a "self-appointed leader". Van Ronge was also surprised that Visagie represented the AWB in a TV interview with Freek Robinson on Tuesday.
When asked about possible in-fighting, Van Ronge said the AWB does not want to air its dirty laundry in the media, since the focus should rather be on "the cause".
Instead they will take internal steps to resolve the problems (surrounding the leadership). Van Ronge also said he will release a statement on Friday regarding the resolution of the situation.
Visagie said on Wednesday that the AWB executive council had a meeting on Sunday night, during which he, Van Ronge and Johan Potgieter, from Ventersdorp, were appointed as acting leaders or as a "managing committee".
Visagie is not aware of the later meeting where Van Ronge was appointed as leader. "Let's just say he's the interim leader. We will choose a new leader at the national conference of the AWB on May 1."
Visagie also pointed out that, in the TV interview, Robinson was speaking to him in his capacity as secretary-general.