Zille warns of 'tidal wave' of rage

2010-04-06 20:06

Cape Town - The murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche unleashed a "tidal wave of pent-up rage and frustration" in certain sections of society, says Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille.

Addressing the media at Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday, she said it was time for President Jacob Zuma to "act like a president" and rein in his party's youth leader, Julius Malema.

"For over a decade now, farmers and farming communities have been on the receiving end of escalating criminal violence, and 3 368 have been murdered."

"Most recently, the ANC Youth League's sinister leader Julius Malema, has made popular again an old struggle song, the lyrics of which include the phrase '(shoot) the boer'."

Zille said that pointing out, as the ANC had done, that there was no direct evidence linking Malema's hate speech to Terre'Blanche's murder was unhelpful, to say the least.


"We must acknowledge the fact that songs inciting people to kill others create a climate in which murder is legitimised and romanticised."

"We must understand why people are angered and alienated by a song that calls for their murder."

"We must understand why this is multiplied many fold when the country's president fails to take a stand, effectively condoning the flouting of a court ruling that declared these words to be hate speech."

"This song is not experienced as 'an attack on the apartheid system', which its apologists claim it is; it is experienced, (and I believe it is meant by those who sing it), as a contemporary expression of a hateful attitude towards farmers and Afrikaners in particular, and whites in general," she said.

According to the police, Terre'Blanche was murdered, allegedly by two of his farm labourers following a pay dispute, on his farm 10km outside Ventersdorp on Saturday.


Zille said Terre'Blanche's murder was "symbolic", for a number of reasons.

"It shows how close to the precipice we are with people's pent-up rage and anger... A symbolic murder can often be the match on the dry grass, and this is what Eugene Terre'Blanche's murder threatened to be."

Asked how big a "seminal moment" Terre'Blanche's murder was in South Africa's history, she replied: "It is a big one."

However, she had been very pleased to hear the AWB had withdrawn their call for violence to avenge Terre'Blanche's death.

"We cannot avenge violence with violence," Zille said.

She also called on the ANC leadership to "take a formal decision at the highest level to stop singing the song that includes the words 'shoot the boer'".


Farm safety had reached crisis proportions in South Africa.

"When you compare the number of farmers that have been murdered in South Africa (with) the numbers that have lost their lives in Zimbabwe, you will see the sort of crisis it actually is; farm murders in Zimbabwe don't enter triple figures, and ours are over 3 000."

"Now that is a very, very serious indictment of the state of safety on South African farms and in our rural areas."

In a special edition of her party's weekly newsletter, SA Today, Zille said government needed to urgently put in place a strategy to promote rural security.

This should include strengthening sector policing in rural areas; the establishment of a specialised border and rural safety division within the SA Police Service; the establishment of "rural intelligence centres" to analyse crime trends; and providing the police in rural areas with sufficient resources to carry out their tasks.