Tempers flare at Eugene Terre'blanche murder hearing

Tempers flared outside a South African court today when two black farm workers were charged with murdering white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'blanche.

Police kept apart a crowd of 200 supporters of Terre'blanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) and a group of black workers outside the court in Ventersdorp, 60 miles west of Johannesburg.

As AWB loyalists sang South Africa's apartheid-era national anthem, the opposing side responded with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica (God Bless Africa), the anthem introduced after the country's first multi-racial elections in 1994.

South African leaders, including President Jacob Zuma, have urged calm since Saturday's killing, and police reacted quickly to separate the two groups when a white woman threw a bottle of water.

Inside the court, the farm workers, aged 15 and 21, were charged with murder in a case that has fanned fears of racial tension in Africa's biggest economy two months before it is due to host the soccer World Cup.

They were also charged with theft, robbery and crimen injuria - an assault on the dignity of the victim.

"After they assaulted the deceased, they pulled down his pants and exposed his private parts," said the head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Menzi Simelane.

The case was adjourned to April 14, when the pair will have a chance to give their plea and request bail. The trial is being held behind closed doors because the youngest accused is a minor and the two have to be tried together.

The lawyer for the 15-year-old denied media reports that he had confessed to the crime.

Police believe Terre'blanche, who had pushed to preserve white minority rule in the 1990s, was killed over a pay dispute.

Even though analysts are not predicting any wider political repercussions, the killing has exposed the racial divide that remains 16 years after the end of apartheid.

"Whites still have all the power here. Since 1994, we have a black president but nothing has changed," said a 68-year-old woman who did not wish to be named because she was missing work.

"What those men did to Terre'blanche will show other farmers that we will not be oppressed."

The AWB has promised not to seek revenge for the death of their 69-year-old leader, who had become increasingly marginal in politics and had a tiny following among the whites who make up 10 per cent of South Africa's 48 million people.

However, the murder has heightened a sense among its supporters that they are being targeted by the African National Congress (ANC), the party of Nelson Mandela that has ruled South Africa since 1994.

Julius Malema, leader of the militant ANC Youth League, caused controversy last month when he sang a black liberation struggle song that includes the words "Kill the Boer" - now banned by the courts as hate speech.

"Before the 1994 elections, I was afraid and thought there was no place for an Afrikaner in a black country," said 73-year-old Sarie Visser, dressed in combat fatigues and bearing the AWB's swastika-like symbol on her armbands.

"Mandela assured us and made us feel better, but the government has changed now. If Malema can't be stopped, we know where we stand," she said.

The AWB chose Steyn van Ronge, a senior party member, today to replace Terre'blanche.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power