The AWB changes tune and calls for serenity

THE AWB yesterday changed its tune from encouraging its members to avenge the death of its leader, Eugène Terre'Blanche, to calling for calm among its members.

THE AWB yesterday changed its tune from encouraging its members to avenge the death of its leader, Eugène Terre'Blanche, to calling for calm among its members.

Addressing a large crowd of local and foreign journalists outside Terre'Blanche's farm in Ventersdorp in North West, the movement's spokesperson, Pieter Steyn, said no member of his organisation would engage in any form of violence.

"We would like to urge them to refrain from any form of violence and racial slandering. Though our members are shocked and horrified at their leader's murder, we won't tolerate any violence," he said.

Hacked

He said an earlier call for people to take up arms was made in the heat of the moment. The 69-year-old founder of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging was hacked to death, allegedly by two employees, in a wage dispute on Saturday.

Steyn insisted that Terre'Blanche's killing was politically motivated and called on President Jacob Zuma to "get off his backside and start governing".

"The murder weapon was left on top of Mr Terre'Blanche's body to send us a clear message," Steyn said.

This is despite police maintaining otherwise.

Police said the AWB's earlier threat to avenge Terre'Blanche's death amounted to the incitement of violence.

Refrain

"We viewed those utterances as inciting violence, that is why we urged people to remain calm and refrain from making such statements.

"We are happy that the AWB retracted that statement yesterday," said spokesperson Zweli Mnisi.

Meanwhile, there was palpable tension as Khaki-clad AWB members, some armed with handguns, arrived in dribs and drabs to lay flowers at the gate. Next to the flowers was a poster reading: "Nog 'n Plaasmoord" (another farm murder). At the back the poster read: "Stop Malema. Stop the murders. Viva ET".

Apart from a large police contingence, AWB members and reporters there was no sign of a single black worker on the farm.

Steyn said the AWB was in a process of engaging the United Nations with a view to securing their own sovereign territory within the borders of South Africa.

"We want our own piece of land where we can govern ourselves. If people want to have six wives that is their own business. We want to have our own space so we can practise our own values," he said.

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