Home News Trial for murder of S.Africa extremist leader resumes

Trial for murder of S.Africa extremist leader resumes

Published on 30/01/2012

The trial of two black farmworkers accused of killing South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'Blanche resumed Monday with police grilled over their treatment of a teenaged suspect.

Terre’Blanche, co-founder of the white-supremacist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), was hacked to death inside his farmhouse in April 2010, in a case that revived memories of the darkest days of South Africa’s past.

Farm workers Chris Mahlangu, 29, and a 16-year-old boy are charged with murder, housebreaking and robbery. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The hearing Monday, three months after the court last heard the case, centred on whether police had treated the teenaged suspect correctly under the new Child Justice Act, which came into effect shortly before Terre’Blanche’s murder.

The law gives special rights to children involved in crimes, and defence attorneys questioned whether police had applied the new rules in this case.

“I at no stage suspected that the rights of the youth accused might have been violated,” said Jacobus Rautenbach, a police officer who attended the scene of the crime.

The autopsy report said Terre’Blanche had suffered numerous injuries to his face and body, but none suggesting self-defence. Police have said that he was found with semen on his penis.

The teenager says that Terre’Blanche was already dead when he entered the house. Mahlangu has testified that he acted in self-defence when the 69-year-old attacked him with a machete.

The trial has been adjourned several times since 2010, and is now set for another week of hearings.

During the hearings, white AWB members hold demonstrations outside the courthouse and display placards reading “Save the Boer”, referring to the descendants of the first European settlers.