Fears of racial tensions grow

2010-04-04 15:58
A man speaks over his cellphone at the farm outside Ventersdorp in the North West where Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre'Blanche was murdered. (Stringer, Sapa)

A man speaks over his cellphone at the farm outside Ventersdorp in the North West where Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre'Blanche was murdered. (Stringer, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - As the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) on Sunday vowed to avenge their leader Eugene Terre'Blanche's gruesome murder, political leaders and police appealed for calm.

Fears of a growing racial tension and polarisation grew as condolences streamed in.

"We appeal for calmness and non-provocation at this time because the police are hard at work in dealing with this matter," said African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

He said ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was not to blame for polarisation, or the singing of the controversial "shoot the boer" song.

"Julius has not acted in a manner that promotes polarisation. The song is not a Julius song...it is an ANC song," he said in a telephonic interview with e.tv's news channel.

"If you have problems with the song, we say put it to the ANC...if this song is creating problems, tell the ANC...and they will look at it," he said.

AWB general-secretary Andre Visagie told Sapa the party blamed Malema for Terre'Blanche's murder.


In a telephonic interview, he said, there would be "revenge".

"We are going to finish with funeral arrangements and thereafter have a summit conference on May 1 in Pretoria, where all our leaders and members of AWB will come together and decide on what actions we will take to revenge Terre'Blanche's death."

"Our leader's death is directly linked to Julius Malema's 'shoot the boer' song," said Visagie.

"And [ANC general-secretary] Gwede Mantashe, made excuses on behalf of Malema in February, and up till today [President] Jacob Zuma has not stopped it."

He said despite a court interdict preventing Malema from singing the song, "he still persists".

"He still persists in continuing the hate speech [by singing] 'shoot the boer' and this means that the government condones what Malema is saying.

"If they come to us with condolences right now, we cannot accept it...because they condone Malema's hate songs."

He noted that the ruling party also played a part in the death because it promoted the song of incitement.

AWB leader 'deserved it'

There were mixed reactions from political parties on hearing about the murder.

While some offered condolences, others said Terre'Blanche deserved it.

The Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) said the white extremist died in the same manner in which he killed black farm workers. "Azapo never rejoiced on the murder of any person, black or white, rich or poor. But the murder of Eugene Terre'Blanche left us with a combination of sadness...and a tinge of suppressed excitement."

"We are sad that Mr Terre'Blanche died in the manner in which he died, murdered in cold blood. Sadly, this is how he killed black defenceless farm workers in Venterdorp."

Meanwhile, Afrikaner author and political commentator Dr Dan Roodt said the ANC's youth wing had created a climate of hatred towards Afrikaners which could leader to further anarchy, Zimbabwean-style land invasions, famine and even mass murder in South Africa.

"Only a show of unity and determination in the face of these dire threats will counter the storm of hate and retribution that is brewing in the hearts and minds of our enemies.

He said South Africa was at a cross-road and appealed to the international community - the United States, the European Union and United Nations - to intervene to stop the bloodbath in South Africa.

The Inkatha Freedom Party and the Congress of the People Youth Movement agreed that Malema should stop singing "Dubula iBhunu".

Racial hartred

IFP spokesperson Rev Musa Zondi said the incident was disturbing and could escalate to intra-racial hatred.

Terre'Blanche, 69, was bludgeoned to death - allegedly by two farm workers - on Saturday night at his Ventersdorp farm in the North West province.

He was repeatedly stabbed with a panga after an argument over unpaid wages.

A 21-year-old man and 15-year-old boy were subsequently arrested for the crime.

In 1970 Terre'Blanche founded the fringe right-wing AWB and spent three decades championing white supremacy.


Read more on:    awb  |  ancyl  |  eugene terre'blanche  |  jacob zuma  |  julius malema  |  et murder trial

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