Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris Men's Fall/Winter 2015, freedom of speech triumphs

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Davos 2015: Businesses 'cautiously optimistic' in Japan

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Twitter storm as IMF boss Christine Lagarde hails Saudi King Abdullah as 'strong advocate of women'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR CONGO: Senate amends controversial constitutional law

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Pope Family Planning: Heated Debate over Pontiff's 'Rabbit' Comments (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Saudi King Abdullah Dies: Succession, Stability and Youth in Question (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France tackles terror

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO of Schneider Electric: 'France is on a better track'

Read more

DEBATE

Davos debate: Can big business agree on climate deal? (part 2)

Read more

Africa

Defendants plead not guilty in white supremacist’s murder trial

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-10

The two South African farm workers accused of bludgeoning to death white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'blanche over a wage dispute in April last year pleaded not guilty on Monday as their trial opened in Ventersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

REUTERS - The trial of two blacks accused of hacking to death South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'blanche in a wage dispute at his farm opened on Monday, with a racially charged display outside the courthouse.

Chris Mahlangu, a gardener at Terre'blanche's farm, and a 16-year-old not identified for legal reasons were charged with the April 2010 murder that highlighted continuing racial tensions 17 years after the end of the apartheid system that Terre'blanche had fought to preserve.

The pair pleaded not guilty to charges including housebreaking, robbery and bludgeoning Terre'blanche to death with an axe.

The case has served as a reminder of bitter divisions in the country now dubbed the "Rainbow Nation" and ruled by the African National Congress, the party that helped end apartheid.

Norman Arendse, the attorney for the minor facing murder charges, said there were "appalling conditions on the farm" that was not fit for human habitation.
He told the court his client did not participate in the killing but did call police after finding Terre'blanche's body.

Prosecutor George Baloyi told the court the two found Terre'blanche asleep on his bed and then beat him with a steel pipe.

"The DNA found on Eugene Terre'blanche's clothes matched the DNA found on the accused's clothes," he told the court.

Many in the country still scarred by its brutal apartheid past were worried that the murder of Terre'blanche -- who led the hardline supremacist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) -- could have sparked racial violence.

But police said the motive for the crime was likely unpaid wages rather than anything political and the case has not led to any major fallout.

A handful of AWB supporters gathered outside the courthouse in Ventersdorp, a farming community about 125 km (80 miles) west of Johannesburg. They flew the AWB and former Transvaal flag -- symbols of the apartheid regime.

"We are here to support the Terre'blanche family and see that justice is done. We don't want special treatment, the person who killed our leader should get a trial," said AWB member Johan Potgieter.

"There is a place for the AWB. The whites are getting threatened in our own country, we are getting murdered on our farms," he said.

Terre'blanche was a prominent figure during the dying years of apartheid but then lived in relative obscurity, particularly since his release in 2004 after serving a prison sentence for beating a black man nearly to death.

The AWB is seen as a fringe group with little influence, but many still say that remnants of the white-minority apartheid state linger in the country, where about half of the black majority live in poverty.

A local black resident, who only wanted to be identified as Sello, said: "The ANC may be in government but in Ventersdorp, the whites are still in charge."
 

Date created : 2011-10-10

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    ANC youth leader found guilty of hate speech

    Read more

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    Police investigating homosexual link to Terre'blanche murder

    Read more

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    Heavy police presence and Nazi flags at funeral of Terre'blanche

    Read more

COMMENT(S)