News24

Spike in race tensions - institute

2010-04-06 17:22

Cape Town - The ANC Youth League's revival of the "shoot the boer" slogan may have played a role in the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche, the South African Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.

"Racial tensions in the country appear to have increased significantly in recent weeks. This appears to be chiefly as a result of incitement by the ruling African National Congress to 'shoot and kill' the Afrikaner ethnic minority in the country," SAIIR deputy CEO Frans Cronje said in a statement.

He said not all crime in the country could be categorised as non-political and accused the ruling party of heightening tensions as it sought to dissimulate its failures by blaming social inequality on white South Africans.

Law, order largely collapsed

"In an environment where law and order has largely collapsed the consequences of incitement by political leaders to commit murder must be taken seriously."

Cronje said the ANC had failed to meet the expectations of the black majority and "increasingly appears to be seeking to shift the blame for its delivery failures onto the small white ethnic minority".

"Here parallels may be read to the behaviour of Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe when that party realised that its political future was in peril. The ANC Youth League's recent visit to Zanu-PF, which saw it endorse that party's ruinous polices, are pertinent here."

"In such an environment it is plausible to consider that the ANC's exhortations to violence may be a contributing factor to the killing of Mr Terre'Blanche."

Possible links

He dismissed the ANC leadership's refusal to entertain questions about a possible link between ANC youth leader Julius Malema's statements and Terre'Blanche's brutal murder as "ridiculous".

"Should evidence be led that the two young men acted with what they understood to be the tacit backing of the ANC, and a causal link between their actions and incitement by the ANC be established, then the possibility of charging the ANC's senior leadership in connection to the murder arises."

"Equally plausible is that the Terre'Blanche family and the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging could bring a civil suit against the ANC and the government."

Martyr risk

Cronje warned that Terre'Blanche's brutal killing, allegedly by two disgruntled farm workers, risked turning him into a martyr and further polarising South Africa.

"It is possible that the killing of Mr Terre'Blanche will greatly strengthen the hand of a new hardened right-wing in South Africa.

"In life Mr Terre'Blanche attracted a small, uninfluential, and extremist following. He will not be mourned for what he stood for."

"However, in death he may come to represent the experiences of scores of minority groups in the country who perceive themselves as being on the receiving end of racist and now also violent abuse from the ANC."

"In effect therefore, Mr Terre'Blanche may be seen as having been martyred for a minority cause in the country."