Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Terre'Blanche "loved or hated "

Say it with a sting.....Terre'Blanche 'loved or hated

'2010-04-06 12:47
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Gert van der Westhuizen, Beeld
Pretoria - To write about the life of Eugène Terre’Blanche is definitely not an easy thing to do. He was either hated by his opponents or loved by his supporters.Others regarded him as a political clown with green underpants full of holes and a paper tiger who fell from his horse.You are therefore bound to satisfy no-one with a retrospective of his public career.The Afrikaner also has an inherent respect for death, which often forces people to say only pleasant things about the deceased. But you can never forget who Eugène Terre’Blanche was and what he stood for.AttentionHe drew attention for the first time when he and a few friends tarred and feathered Professor Floors van Jaarsveld in 1979 when they disliked the historian's view on the Day of the Covenant.During the 1980s, Terre’Blanche and his AWB increasingly drew more attention with incendiary speeches and public shows of power.One paramilitary unit after another was founded by the AWB: Aquila, the Stormvalke (Storm hawks – a motorbike corps), the Wenkommando (Winning commando), the Goue Arende (Golden Eagles – an air wing) and the Ystergarde (Iron guard), to name but a few.Towards the end of the decade, Terre’Blanche almost single-handedly destroyed his movement after news broke of his extra-marital affair with columnist Jani Allan, and stories about his alcohol abuse came to light.He alienated several of his supporters who then again founded their own movements.Although similar rumours dogged the AWB leader for the rest of the 20th century, his movement got a second wind after the unbanning of the ANC in 1990.New South AfricaAs the new South Africa emerged, the units increased and the rhetoric became more violent (there was later even a unit with the ominous name: Retribution unit).The AWB and Terre’Blanche declared war almost every week.The war talk and threats made at the time, make ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema look like a bumbling amateur.For instance, in 1993, after the murder of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, he ignored calls for calm."All I can say, is that a murderer was murdered," declared Terre’Blanche. "If he had continued and the communists had continued with the war to overthrow the state authority and take my country, then I might have had to shoot him myself!"In this political climate, several AWB members committed acts of violence.Incidents like the "Battle of Ventersdorp" in 1991, in which three right-wing members died and more than 50 people were injured when the AWB wanted to prevent former president FW de Klerk from making a speech, were unavoidable.Embarrassment After Hani's murder, Terre’Blanche's position as the true leader of the right wing was threatened again when several retired generals went into politics and founded the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF).Terre’Blanche initially did not want to become part of the greater organisation, but later agreed to join in when it appeared that the AWB was becoming increasingly irrelevant.From the start, he was an embarrassment to the AVF, which was led by General Constand Viljoen.AWB members, for instance, with the "Battle of the World Trade Centre" ignored AVF orders and caused great embarrassment to Viljoen with their disorderly behaviour.Nevertheless, the AWB remained part of the right-wing opposition against the new South Africa and its leader continued to huff and puff. Some supporters did not only huff and puff. There were for instance, the roadblock murders late in 1993, when four people were murdered on the road between Krugersdorp and Ventersdorp. The ear of one of the victims was even cut off.Bophuthatswana 'invasion'In March 1993, the AWB also "invaded" the former homeland of Bophuthatswana, despite clear calls from Viljoen and the homeland leader Lucas Mangope, to stay away.AWB members arrived in bakkies and cars to keep Mangope's regime going. They angered local residents by shooting wildly at people and shouting racist slogans.Their right-wing friends at the AVF also wanted nothing to do with these bullies and the AWB had to leave with its tail between the legs.Five right-wingers died in Bophuthatswana, among them three AWB members who were executed in front of media cameras after their fellow invaders left them behind.But it didn't stop Terre’Blanche from claiming a "shining victory".He said five AWB members died and six were injured but that the "other side" had 50 dead and 285 wounded.The "other side" were innocent civilians, not one soldier or policeman had been killed by the right-wingers.More than anything else, the AWB had helped to bring Mangope's reign to an end.A commission of inquiry held the AWB responsible for the deaths of five people and recommended that Terre’Blanche and other prominent leaders of the AWB were criminally charged. This never happened.No political heritageThe Bophuthatswana fiasco was the end of the AWB as a factor in South African politics.A splinter group caused death and devastation through bomb attacks shortly before the election in 1994, but very few people would again take the AWB or Terre’Blanche seriously.History could almost be seen to have left him and his movement behind.Terre’Blanche didn't really leave a political heritage, he was an embarrassment, even to his own right-wing friends.For victims of the AWB, he was nothing more than a racist promoter of violence. He had largely been forgotten until he was murdered this weekend.No-one deserves to be murdered with a panga and a knobkerrie. You could only concur with Nathi Mthethwa, the minister of police's statement in Ventersdorp on Monday: A human being is dead; a human being has been murdered.- Van der Westhuizen is a senior journalist from Beeld who reported extensively about Terre’Blanche and the AWB.
- Beeld
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The 15-year-old arrested for the murder of AWB leader Eugène Terre’Blanche has been in trouble with the law before.
The teenager’s uncle told Sowetan that his nephew was doing community service after he was arrested with his friends for a break-in at a biscuit factory two years ago.
The boy, who was brought up by his grandmother, stopped attending school at primary level.
The uncle described the teenager as a very quiet child. He started working for Terre’Blanche towards the end of last year.
“He was doing community service. Although he slept at Terre’Blanche’s property he came back on Saturdays to clean the police station as instructed by the court,” said the uncle who cannot be named to protect the minor’s identity.
The boy told his stepfather Terre’Blanche owed him and his alleged accomplice three months’ wages.
“The police brought him here very early in the morning and told us he has been arrested. He told me they had not been paid for three months and they wanted Terre’Blanche to pay them all their money as it was already the end of the month,” the stepfather said.
He too cannot be named to protect the minor’s identity.
“I was shocked when he said he was working for Terre’Blanche, but we could not do anything about it. However, I never saw the money he said he was allegedly earning,” his uncle said.
The teenager and a 28- year-old man were arrested after Terre’Blanche’s killing on his farm outside Ventersdorp. A knife and panga were used in the brutal murder.
“He is still a child. His future has been messed up by this arrest, I do not know what to do or say anymore,” the stepfather said.
The two will appear in the Ventersdorp court today.
Confusion over AWB leadership
2010-04-08 10:23

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Gert Coetzee, Volksblad
Bloemfontein - There is currently great confusion regarding exactly who the new leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) is, complicated by the fact that various spokespeople for the organisation have been making contradictory statements.Steyn von Ronge told Die Burger on Wednesday that he has a written appointment by Eugene Terre'Blanche, dated March 12, stating that he is the new leader of the AWB.The secretary-general of the AWB, André Visagie from Kimberley, is not aware of Von Ronge's appointment.Von Ronge, a farmer from the eastern Free State, was introduced as the new leader of the AWB by Pieter Steyn during a news conference at the AWB headquarters in Ventersdorp on Tuesday.Appointment confirmedIn response to questions from the media at the news conference, the AWB's executive management confirmed Von Ronge's appointment, adding that it's a permanent appointment.Steyn has acted as AWB spokesperson in Ventersdorp since the murder of Terre'Blanche.Steyn also renounced an earlier claim by Visagie that the organisation would arm itself to avenge Terre'Blanche's death. Afterwards it was reported that Visagie said Steyn's statements are devoid of any truth.According to Visagie, Steyn is not a member of the AWB's executive council and does not speak on behalf of the AWB.Von Ronge said on Wednesday that Visagie, who used to be the spokesperson for the AWB, is a "self-appointed leader". Von Ronge was also surprised that Visagie represented the AWB in a TV interview with Freek Robinson on Tuesday.When asked about possible in-fighting, Von Ronge said the AWB does not want to air its dirty laundry in the media, since the focus should rather be on "the cause".ResolutionInstead they will take internal steps to resolve the problems (surrounding the leadership). Von Ronge also said he will release a statement on Friday regarding the resolution of the situation.Visagie said on Wednesday that the AWB executive council had a meeting on Sunday night, during which he, Von Ronge and Johan Potgieter, from Ventersdorp, were appointed as acting leaders or as a "managing committee".Visagie is not aware of the later meeting where Von Ronge was appointed as leader. "Let's just say he's the interim leader. We will choose a new leader at the national conference of the AWB on May 1."Visagie also pointed out that, in the TV interview, Robinson was speaking to him in his capacity as secretary-general.
- Volksblad
Read more on: awb eugene terre'blanche steyn von ronge



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