White Supremacists Rally At S.Africa Court

VENTERSDORP, South Africa — Hundreds of white supremacists rallied Tuesday outside a South African courtroom ahead of an appearance by two men accused of killing a far-right leader.

Angry whites and blacks faced each other today in front of the heavily guarded South African court where the first hearing of the alleged killers of Eugene Terreblanche was due to take place.

The death of Terreblanche, a militant leader once convicted of beating a black farm worker so badly the man was left brain damaged, has focused attention on simmering racial tensions less than 10 weeks before South Africa hosts the World Cup.

Police rushed to separate nearly 2,000 people split into white and black groups after a middle-aged white woman sprayed an energy drink on blacks singing the Zulu choruses of the country's national anthem.

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Children holding flags of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, Terreblanche's white supremacist movement, outside the South African court today

 

 

 

Whites had earlier been singing the parts of the national anthem that are in Afrikaans and that date to the apartheid era.

Police set up coils of razor wire to separate the groups - whites who said they were there to support Terreblanche's family and blacks supporting the family of the two suspects, a 15-year-old and a 28-year-who worked on the Terreblanche farm.

Terreblanche, 69, was bludgeoned to death on  Saturday in his bed. The 15-year-old's mother said her son and the other man killed him because he had not paid them in months.

Today's court hearing in the town of Ventersdorp will not be public because the younger suspect is a minor.

Police have not identified either of the suspects by name.

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Face-off: Police are called in as white supremacists and blacks supporting Terreblanche's killers congregate outside the court house

Outside after calm was restored, Pieter Steyn, the provincial leader of Terreblanche's Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging movement, better known as the AWB, apologised for the woman who sprayed the blacks.

Terreblanche

A day earlier, Steyn had retreated from threats made by other militants to avenge Terreblanche's death.

The AWB has blamed African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema for the death, saying his insistence on public performances of an anti-apartheid song that includes lines about killing white farmers was hate speech that led to Terreblanche's killing.

The ANC insists the song is part of its heritage and that the lyrics - which also speak of white farmers as thieves and rapists - refer to those who supported apartheid and now oppose democracy.

Malema was under police guard last night amid fears for his life.

The ANC said it was 'worried' for the safety of Malema after a white farmer put up £200,000 to have him killed.

 
 

Racial tension: Julius Malema (right) has been placed under police guard after it was claimed he incited the murder of far-right leader Eugene Terreblanche

Malema

Malema yesterday insisted the killing of white supremacist Terreblanche had nothing to do with the song. 'We know who Terreblanche was, his character and how he related with his workers,' he said. 

Earlier, he told a crowd: 'I am being blamed for the killing of Terreblanche because I sang a song. I'm going to be confronted when I get home. I will be accused of many other things.'

The song was banned by a South African court last week.

Although the government has challenged the ruling, president Jacob Zuma has now called for restraint as the country tries to rebuild its reputation as a harmonious 'rainbow nation' in time for the World Cup.

Up to 450,000, mostly white, football fans are expected to attend the event, which takes place in ten weeks’ time.

 

Respects: Terreblanche's supporters pay tribute to him outside his farm yesterday

 

 

Organisers are desperate that the tournament should pass without incident.

Terreblanche's AWB movement rowed back on earlier calls to avenge its leader's killing.

Respects: Terreblanche's supporters pay tribute to him outside his
farm yesterday

Pieter Steyn said: 'Our membership is very very shocked, angry and horrified. In the heat of the moment certain statements were made and I would like to retract those statements.

'It is the philosophy of the AWB that no member will engage in any form of violence, intimidation, racial slandering or anything of that matter.

'It will not be tolerated. It is however, very difficult to contain our members and keep them calm.'

 

Funeral preparations: Workers dig Terreblanche's grave on his farm
yesterday

Funeral preparations: Workers dig Terreblanche's grave on his farm yesterday

AWB member Rean Olivier, who was among those paying homage to Terreblanche at his farm yesterday, called for Malema to be killed to prevent a war between blacks and whites in South Africa.

'I personally think Malema has to be taken out to clear the playing field,' he said.

A man and a boy, who both worked for Terreblanche, are due in court today accused of his murder.

Terreblanche, famous for his black horse, silver beard and piercing blue eyes, will be buried on Friday on the farm where he was murdered. Yesterday, a digger was excavating a site to take his coffin.

Mr Terreblanche’s brother, Andries, spoke to reporters at the burial site. 'We are not racists, we just believe in purity of race,' he said.

Meanwhile, the AWB rowed back on earlier calls to avenge its leader's slaying.