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Terre'Blanche followers retract revenge threat


The party of murdered South African white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche retracted its threat to avenge the killing on Monday, joining President Jacob Zuma in calling for calm. Terre'Blanche was found hacked to death at his farm house in the north-west province of Ventersdorp on Saturday.

Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish in Pretoria 05/04/2010 - by Michel Arseneault Listen

At a press briefing on Terre'Blanche's farm, a spokesman for the far-right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) or Afrikaner Resistance party said that previous statements threatening retaliation had been made "in the heat of the moment" and did not reflect the party's views.

"It is the philosophy of the AWB that no member will engage in any form of violence, intimidation, racial slandering or anything of that matter," said the AWB's Pieter Steyn.

While he said that the party would not tolerate such behaviour, Steyn warned that it was "very difficult to contain our members and keep them calm".

On Sunday, AWB secretary-general Andre Visagie said the party would "take action" to avenge Terre'Blanche's death, to be decided on at a party conference on 1 May.

Officials continue their efforts to avoid a backlash over the murder.

President Jacob Zuma made a televised appeal for calm on Sunday night, in which he called on politicians to unite in denouncing the crime.

On Monday, Maureen Modisele, the premier of South Africa's North West province where Ventersdorp is located, visited Terre'Blanche's farm and offered her condoleances to his family.

"As government we are calling for calm and respect of the law, especially in this region," she is reported to have told the victim's relatives.

The government also dismissed allegations of anti-white hostility in South Africa, after facing criticism for violent lyrics in anti-apartheid songs associated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Courts have banned one song that includes the chant "kill the boer" after ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema repeatedly sang it in public. The AWB has linked the song to Terre'Blanche's murder.

But the ANC said in a statement on Monday that such a suggestion was "not only mischievious but also inciteful and meant to fuel racial polarisation in country during a highly emotion-charged and sensitive moment".

"Any claim that blacks intend to harm other race groups - in particular our white compatriots - is baseless and devoid of all truth," the statement said.

The two men alleged to have committed the murder, aged 15 and 28, are due to appear in court on Tuesday. They are believed to have killed Terre'Blanche, who employed them on his farm, in a dispute over unpaid wages.