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ELECTION 2022

South Africa's white far-right plans rebirth

WORLD
By | Oct 3rd 2009 | 3 min read

By Marius Bosch

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 2

South Africa's white far right will make a peaceful push for a separate homeland and believes it has a case to put to the United Nations, veteran leader Eugene Terre'Blanche said on Friday.

Terre'Blanche, who fought to preserve apartheid in the early 1990s but has recently been in relative obscurity, told Reuters in an interview more than 20 right-wing groups would meet on Oct. 10 to discuss plans for a homeland and how to unite.

"This meeting will say: 'Give me land, I want my land'," said Terre'Blanche, who describes himself as a Boer, descended from the Boers who fought two wars against Britain near the end of the 19th century to defend their independence.

"Now the Boers are prepared to leave the system which plunged us into the darkness of slavery and say: 'We will now work together and we want a free republic'," he said.

Terre'Blanche said the far-right might also approach the U.N. International Court of Justice in The Hague to hear their case for a separate homeland.

"We have a good case to approach the United Nations with," he said.

Terre'Blanche was the voice of hardline white opposition to the end of minority rule, but has had a low public profile since his release in 2004 from prison after serving a sentence for beating a black man nearly to death.

His Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) was revived last year after several years of inactivity. The AWB -- whose flag resembles a Nazi swastika -- was founded in 1973 with the aim of maintaining white supremacy by any means.

Zuma Courts Afrikaners

White right-wing activity in South Africa died down after the end of apartheid, helped in part by Terre'Blanche's imprisonment in 2001 for assaulting a security guard.

President Jacob Zuma, who took office in May, has courted white Afrikaners at a series of meetings this year, assuring them they have nothing to fear from his government.

Political analysts say white extremists have little support, but more than 21 members of the shadowy Boeremag (Boer Force) are on trial for treason after being arrested in 2001 and accused of a bombing campaign aimed at overthrowing the government.

Terre'Blanche said taking up arms was not part of the new far-right plan.

"I come in peace, I come with a claim under international law," he said, adding that Afrikaner forefathers staked their claim to land through treaties with black kings in the 1800s and by buying large swaths of land.

Before South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994, the AWB deployed thousands of armed rightists in Bophuthatswana, a puppet black "homeland" under apartheid, in an abortive attempt to prevent the overthrow of its president. The AWB was humiliated and forced to pull out.

In 1998, Terre'Blanche accepted "political and moral responsibility" before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission for a bombing campaign to disrupt the 1994 elections in which 21 people were killed and hundreds injured.

Terre'Blanche said the far-right no longer wanted to be part of a country ruled by the current government.

"I am not a racist but I am not prepared to allow racism to be applied in reverse".

-Reuters

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