South Africa’s AWB Rules Out Revenge for Leader’s Death

John Mkhize, Reuters, April 5, 2010

The party of murdered South African white supremacist Eugene Terre’blanche promised on Monday not to seek violent revenge, easing fears that his death might provoke racial unrest.

Terre’blanche, who led the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) that pushed to preserve apartheid in the 1990s, was hacked and battered to death on Saturday following a suspected dispute over pay with two black farm workers.

Leaders of his party, which has been marginalized in recent years, initially vowed to avenge his death, blaming it on sentiment whipped up by the leader of the youth league of the ruling African National Congress.

But an AWB spokesman told reporters that the party was not planning any violent action.

“The AWB is not going to engage in any form of violent retaliation to avenge Mr Terre’blanche’s death,” said Pieter Steyn, a general in the AWB. “We appeal for people to remain calm. Anyone engaging in any form of violence is not doing it as AWB.”

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Opponents of the ANC accuse its youth leader Julius Malema of stoking racial tension through rhetoric and his singing of an apartheid-era song containing the words “Kill the Boer”–now banned by the courts as hate speech.

Malema was in Zimbabwe over the weekend, where he praised President Robert Mugabe’s seizures of land from white farmers to give to landless blacks, a policy which critics say has helped to ruin Zimbabwe.

Malema told reporters in Zimbabwe that the song was not a factor in Terre’blanche’s murder.

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The ANC also condemned the linking of the song to Terre’blanche’s death. “Any claim that blacks intend to harm other race groups . . . is baseless and devoid of all truth,” the party said in a statement.

South Africa’s rand largely shrugged off news of Terre’blanche’s killing, and one analyst said other financial markets would probably follow suit.

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