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South African President Urges Calm Following Murder of White Supremacist Leader

  • Scott Bobb

South African leaders are trying to appease tensions caused by the murder of white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'Blanche. He was killed Saturday by two black workers in an apparent dispute over pay.

South African President Jacob Zuma issued his second appeal for calm since the murder of the head of the Afrikaaner Resistance Movement, Eugene Terre'Blanche.

In a nationally televised message, Mr. Zuma called for tranquility to allow a full investigation into the incident.

"So that the perpetrators of this act will be taken to court and that the process of the law must take its place and those who have committed this terrible act must face the law and face the punishment that they deserve," said President Zuma.

Several senior government delegations in the past two days have visited Terre'Blanche's family in Northwest Province to offer condolences. They include the Minister of Police, national police chief and the head of the provincial government. All vowed that justice will be rendered.

Police say Terre'Blanche was bludgeoned to death Saturday by two black workers with whom he had a pay dispute.

The two were arrested and are due to appear in court Tuesday.

The the Afrikaaner Resistance Movement (AWB), which the 69-year-old farmer helped found in 1973, vowed revenge, but says it will not react violently.

The group said there was a direct link between the murder and the anti-apartheid song called "Shoot the Boer," or white farmer.

The leader of the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Julius Malema, recently began singing the song at rallies, causing a public outcry. A court recently banned the song, calling it a form of hate speech.

The ANC says it will appeal the ruling. The party says there is no direct link between the song and the Terre'Blanche murder.

Mr. Zuma urged politicians to be responsible in their speeches as the country tries to recover from decades of racial discrimination and violence.

"We need to think before we make statements in public that might be misunderstood to be encouraging the opposite of what we are trying to do to build our new nation," added President Zuma.

Opposition parties have called for Malema to stop using the song at rallies. Parties across the political spectrum have condemned the killing, despite what they called their significant political differences with Terre'Blanche and his Movement.

The Afrikaaner Resistance Movement sought to maintain white dominance in apartheid South Africa and staged bomb attacks as the country prepared for its first democratic elections in 1994.

Terre'Blanche served three years in prison after being convicted in 2001 of assaulting a gas station worker and a security guard, both of whom were black.