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S. Africa Pays Condolences to Slain Supremacist

Monday, 05 Apr 2010 10:43 AM

VENTERSDORP, South Africa – South Africa moved on Monday to pre-empt a bloody backlash over Eugene Terre'Blanche's slaying, as officials paid their condolences to the white supremacist leader's family.

After President Jacob Zuma issued a televised appeal for calm, the premier of the North West province, Maureen Modisele, was dispatched to Terre'Blanche's home outside Ventersdorp where he was butchered in his bed at the weekend.

Modisele's spokesman said the premier had reiterated Zuma's message and offered her sympathies to the family, who had in turn told of her of the funeral arrangements.

"The family told us that the funeral will take place on Friday at noon, at a local church here in Ventersdorp," the spokesman, David Sengiwe, told reporters amid a heavy police presence outside the farm.

"As government we are calling for calm and respect of the law, especially here in this region," Modisele was quoted as telling the family.

"We are encouraging people not to take the law into their own hands."

The 69-year-old leader of the extremist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB, Afrikaner Resistance Movement) was killed by black workers on his farm on Saturday night in an attack said to have been sparked by a dispute over wages.

The AWB has vowed to avenge the killing, saying it would meet on May 1 to plan the way forward. But the group urged its members to remain calm and not take immediate action.

"We will decide upon our actions to avenge Mr Terre'Blanche's death. We will take action and the specific action ... will be decided upon at our conference on the first of May," said AWB secretary general Andre Visagie.

The AWB believes the killing is linked to a controversial song urging people to "kill the boer", which was popularised by the now ruling African National Congress (ANC) in its fight against apartheid.

Although 16 years have passed since the end of the whites-only regime, the anthem has again become contentious after its repeated used by ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

Celebrations and fear after Terre'Blanche death

Two court rulings have banned the use of the slogan but the ANC has insisted that the song is part of the history of South Africa's struggle for liberation. Boer is the Afrikaans word for farmer.

Zuma -- who has made the old ANC anthem called "Bring Me My Machine-gun" his signature tune -- on Sunday called for politicians not to inflame race tensions after the killing of Terre'Blanche.

"It is our responsibility to denounce the crime and stay away from statements that might reverse nation building and racial cohesion," Zuma said on television.

Two people, including a teenager, who were workers on the farm are expected to appear in court on Tuesday, according to the police.

They claimed that a fight with the feared leader ensued after he refused to pay them their monthly wages of 300 rand (41 dollars).

According to local media reports, the two workers notified the police after the incident and waited for them to arrive.

"They also alleged that Terre'Blanche was a bad boss who used to physically and verbally abuse them. They claim that he pushed them too far," a police source told local media.

Terre'Blanche's bloodied body was found in his bed with facial and head injuries, a machete still embedded in his flesh and a knob-headed stick nearby.

His AWB supporters, who wear khaki uniforms and the organisation's swastika-like symbol, violently opposed South Africa's all-race democracy and campaigned for a self-governing white state.

Their campaign included bomb attacks ahead of the 1994 polls, which ended the white minority apartheid system

Violence on farms, which are largely white-owned, 16 years after apartheid ended is high in South Africa, with 1,248 farmers and farm workers killed between 1997 and 2007.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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VENTERSDORP, South Africa – South Africa moved on Monday to pre-empt a bloody backlash over Eugene Terre'Blanche's slaying, as officials paid their condolences to the white supremacist leader's family.
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