Black farmhand found guilty in murder of apartheid campaigner Eugene Terre'Blanche


A portrait of white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche hangs outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate court before the verdict in his murder trial on May 22, 2012



A black South African farmhand has been found guilty of murdering Eugene Terre'Blanche, a white supremacist leader bludgeoned to death at his farmhouse outside the small north-western town of Ventersdorp.

A court found Chris Mahlangu, 29, who along with Patrick Ndlovu, 16 at the time, turned themselves in after the Apr. 3, 2010 murder, guilty of murder and robbery, Australia's ABC reported.

"After all the evidence given, I conclude that accused number one [Chris Mahlangu] is guilty as charged," Judge John Horn said.

Ndlovu, now 18, was found guilty only of house-breaking.

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Terre'Blanche was a prominent figure during the dying years of apartheid, who cofounded the far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), which wanted to overthrow South Africa's black majority government.

His murder highlighted the racial tensions in South Africa, 17 years after the abolishing of apartheid.

According to News 24, members of the AWB were among those who gathered outside the High Court sitting Tuesday.

They wore camouflage uniforms, and carried sporting flags and banners in support of Terre'Blanche that read: "AWB stood the test of time" and "Long live the AWB".

Members of the rightwing Gelofte Volk, an AWB breakaway group, also gathered at the court in support of Terre'Blanche.

Posters featuring Terre'Blanche's face hung on trees, with such slogans as "We Want Justice" and "Stop Farm Murders."

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include housebreaking, robbery and hacking Terre'blanche to death with an ax.

The 69-year-old Terre'Blanche's head was beaten with a knob-headed stick, and a machete was found still embedded in his flesh. His genitals were also exposed, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Horn said there was no evidence that Terre'Blanche was killed due to his political views, and rather dispute had been over wages on the farm, the Guardian wrote.

"According to what was put to some of the witnesses on behalf of the accused, the dispute with the deceased was about money, not about his political beliefs or aversion for black people," he said.

He dismissed a claim by Mahlangu, a gardener on Terre'blanche's farm, that he acted in self-defense.

Last month, Horn ruled that most evidence against Ndlovu was inadmissible because police had failed to follow South Africa's child protection law, the ABC wrote.