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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More