News / Africa

South Africa Trial Ends in Prison Sentence for Life

An effigy of the killer of right wing leader Eugene TerreBlanche is dragged behind a vehicle past protesters outside the court in Ventersdorp, South Africa, August 22, 2012.
An effigy of the killer of right wing leader Eugene TerreBlanche is dragged behind a vehicle past protesters outside the court in Ventersdorp, South Africa, August 22, 2012.
JOHANESSBURG — While South Africa mourned the deaths of more than 30 striking miners last week, a black farmworker, Chris Mahlangu, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the 2010 murder of white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche. In both cases, a culture of violence born in deep economic inequalities has been blamed.

The scene outside the court looked like the ghost of a shameful past. As Chris Mahlangu, Eugene Terreblanche's convicted killer, was being jailed for life, about 20 white supremacists carried a doll representing a black man with a rope around his neck and a sign that said "hang Mahlangu".  On the opposite sidewalk, 100 demonstrators sang racially-charged songs in support of Mahlangu.

Mahlangu's trial ended as it began two years ago:  in a heated atmosphere and amid accusations of a racist murder by the supporters of the white supremacist victim. But the judge concluded the motive was, first and foremost, a violent dispute over wages, that Mahlangu broke into his former employer's house at night, and beat him to death because he claimed Terreblanche owed him money.

An associate professor of social sciences at Wits University in Johannesburg, Devan Pillay, sees a link between this case and the Marikana mine massacre. "Just like the Lonmin Marikana massacre seems like a simple industrial relation dispute, it has huge symbolism for the whole country," he said.
 
Pillay says that both cases show extreme violence used as an answer to dysfunctional work relationships. To him, this is something specific to South Africa and is a legacy of colonialism and of white minority rule, known as apartheid.
 
"It put a spotlight on the extremely unequal relations between the employers and employees, which has characterized South Africa's industrial relation and social situation generally from colonial times through apartheid," Pillay explained. "And it persists today."
 
The deep inequalities trigger violence.  South Africa has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, as well as one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor. Pillay says these gaps have been the center of South Africa's economy for a long time. "Our economic system is based on cheap labor and continues to be based on cheap labor. Both in the domestic sphere, in Terreblanche's case, but also in the mining industry which has been the bedrock of our economy," he added. "Of the apartheid economy and post apartheid economy."

Last July, South African President Jacob Zuma himself said that the structure of the Apartheid-era economy has remained largely intact. While the country's economy is booming, nearly half of South Africans still live below the poverty line.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Truth Reversed
August 26, 2012 4:26 AM
Right from wrong is easy, applying it, is cause for concern,
The race card is frequently played in the "Blame Game" with much bias and will continue for the forseeable future. No mention is made of the BEE system which is now in place and discriminates against other population groups in terms of employment. Perhaps the Professor can elucidate how many expatriates are overseas working and explain promotion cases in the Police and other sectors, which have been challenged.


by: Dumas74 from: Afghanatan
August 25, 2012 7:14 PM
From Aparthied Police State to Xenophia Police State to Police Violence Aparthied State what a transsion of one half poor half rich country?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid