This seems to have set off a firestorm in South Africa, especially amongst AWB members and supporters, who regard this murder as “a declaration of war by black people on white people.”
The timing for this murder could not have been worse! A few weeks ago, Julius Malema, the controversial leader of the ruling ANC’s Youth League, was singing a song called “kill the boer” (“kill the farmer”) at a rally where he was a speaker. This rightfully upset a lot of people, and last week a South African court banned the singing of the song, declaring it hate-speech.
The question now is: Is this a declaration of war on whites in South Africa? Is this murder the beginning of wide-spread racial violence?
I don’t think it is, and here’s why…
Motive for the Murder
Eugene Terre’Blanche (ET) was a right-winger who didn’t have much time for black people. He started the AWB in 1973 in response to what he considered to be the liberal race policies of former South African Prime Minister, John Vorster.
Anybody who followed ET’s activities over the years will know that he was not afraid of violence. He threatened with violence if a black government ever took over South Africa, and the AWB supposedly had a hand in a bombing campaign orchestrated before the first all-race elections of 1994 in an attempt to destabilize the country and derail the elections. More recently, he spent three years (2001 – 2004) in jail for beating a black man to the point of brain damage.
Given all this, I doubt that he treated black workers on his farm with much respect. As I suspected, and as now reported in the press, the two black guys who killed him had done some work for him on his farm and he refused to pay them. Who knows why he would not pay them… maybe they did a bad job… maybe he believed that he didn’t need to pay them.
The point is, it was a dispute over pay that led to the murder, which makes it a criminal murder and not a political murder!
This does not mean that the murder is justified in any way.
Back to Julius Malema… The AWB has accused Malema of being responsible for this murder. This is one point that I partially agree with. I don’t think Malema is directly responsible, but…
Whether I like it or not (and I don’t like it), Julius Malema is a leader in South Africa who has a large following whom he has a lot of influence over. If he goes around singing “kill the boer” songs, he is planting the seed in his followers’ heads that it is OK to kill white people. While thousands of white farmers have been murdered in South Africa since 1994 and before Malema came on the scene, he is further fomenting the current situation and should therefore carry at least a partial moral responsibility.
The AWB considers this murder to be a declaration of war, or so they stated in the press. They obviously feel this is a political murder. It is very convenient for them to consider it a political murder because that strengthens their political beliefs. I think they are wrong!
This was a criminal murder over a pay dispute. If it becomes a war, it will be because the AWB makes it a war. Luckily they have stated that they do not intend any violent retribution. I hope all their members abide by that.
Eugene Terre’Blanche was a well-known man, hence all the attention his murder is getting in the press. As I stated earlier, thousands of white farmers have been murdered on their farms, mostly by black people, since 1994. ET’s murder counts as a farm murder.
So far the South African government has been largely indifferent to the farm murders. Terrible as ET’s murder is, if anything good could come from it, I hope it is that his murder shines a very bright light on farm murders and that something finally gets done about it.
My condolences to the Terre’Blanche family.