A 15-year-old who minded cattle for South Africa’s most notorious white supremacist told his mother that he and an older laborer bludgeoned him to death because he hadn’t paid them in months.
The confession detailed in an exclusive interview with AP Television News Monday undermines claims the killing was inspired by an apartheid-era song urging people to kill white farmers.
It was a brutal end for Eugene Terreblanche, 69, a man once convicted of beating a farm worker so badly the man was left brain damaged.
According to the 15-year-old now accused of his murder, some of Terreblanche’s last words were threatening: “I will kill you and throw you to hell.”
Terreblanche’s slaying has heightened racial tensions as South Africa prepares to host soccer’s World Cup in June and July.
It also comes amid controversy over a fiery black leader’s insistence on singing the song “kill the boer.” Boer means farmer in the Afrikaans language but also is a derogatory term for whites.
Members of Terreblanche’s Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging movement, better known as the AWB, have blamed African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema, saying he spread hate speech that led to Terreblanche’s killing.
Malema led college students in the song last month, sparking a legal battle in which his governing ANC party is challenging a high court ruling that the lyrics are unconstitutional.
“The death of Terreblanche has got nothing to do with the song. We know who Terreblanche was, his character and how he related with his workers,” Malema said Monday.
In Ventersdorp, AWB member Rean Olivier said Malema needs to be killed to prevent a race war.
“I personally think Malema has to be taken out to clear the playing field,” Olivier was quoted as saying by the South African Press Association.
But leaders of the AWB, whose members wear khaki uniforms and swagger around with pistols on their hips, sounded a more conciliatory note Monday.
Provincial leader Pieter Steyn said the movement is withdrawing threats made Sunday to avenge Terreblanche’s death. He said the AWB renounces violence in any form, speaking after ANC leaders came to Ventersdorp to pay their respects to the Terreblanche family.