ET workers exploited: Defence

By Drum Digital
19 April 2012

Workers on murdered rightwing leader Eugene Terre'Blanche's farm were exploited, the High Court sitting in Ventersdorp heard on Thursday.

“Farmworkers like the accused are generally exploited,” Norman Arendse, the lawyer representing the younger of the two accused, said in his closing arguments.

Chris Mahlangu and the teenager are charged with beating Terre'Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp, in North West, on April 3, 2010.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu has claimed he acted in self-defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.

Arendse said Terre'Blanche was a well-known white supremacist who “had a well-documented history of taking the law into his own hands”.

He referred to Terre'Blanche's being jailed for assaulting a petrol station attendant in 1993. Arendse added that police knew a minor worked on Terre'Blanche's farm, but did nothing about it.

“The ‘dop system' is alive and well.”

He was referring to labourers being paid with alcohol. Terre'Blanche bought alcohol for the two accused on the day of his murder.

Arendse also said since neither of the two could drive, the third charge of attempted robbery was unfounded.

On Wednesday, Arendse told the court the State had no evidence against the teenager. He said the State was relying on hearsay admissions made by Mahlangu about the youth's role in the crime.

"There is no other evidence against accused number two."

Prosecutor George Baloyi told the court on Wednesday: "The State's submission is that both accused should be found guilty as charged on all counts."

Baloyi described the case as extraordinary because the two did not run away after the murder, instead walking a great distance to alert the police.

During his closing argument, Mahlangu's lawyer Kgomotso Tlouane claimed that if the two were guilty they would not have gone to the trouble of calling the police, but would have fled.

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