South African farm worker gets life for Terre'Blanche murder

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A court in South Africa yesterday gave a life sentence to farm worker Chris Mahlungu for the 2010 murder of white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche.

A file photo of Terre'Blanche, who was killed two years ago.

Although Mahlungu is black, the court found the crime was not racist. Court and prosecution instead agreed a fight erupted as part of a pay dispute. Terre'Blanche, 69, was co-founder of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), which conducted bombings in the run-up to elections that ended apartheid in 1994. He had served prison time for attacking two blacks, one of whom he was convicted of trying to murder.

AWB protestors hung an effigy of Mahlungu from a noose and dragged it behind a truck outside the court, while the AWB marching band struck up Afrikaans songs. Mahlungu supporters sang in support of the convict and also chanted the banned song Shoot the Boer, which originated as an anti-apartheid protest.

Judge John Horn rejected the defendant's claim of self defence, saying Mahlungu showed a "flagrant disregard for the deceased's right to life" when he beat Terre'Blanche with a pipe. He also rejected a claim Mahlunga, 30, had been raped by Terre'Blanche and had contracted HIV as a result. Mahlunga has said he did nothing wrong and Judge Horn said he "failed to express genuine remorse".

Judge Horn also heard Mahlunga is of limited intelligence and was paid little for his work. His lawyer said he was upset at having not been paid, and drunk, when he killed Terre'Blanche. Nonetheless, the judge concluded there was "no valid reason to deviate from the prescribed sentence".

Patrick Ndlovu, 18, was charged alongside Mahlunga but acquitted of murder and robbery. Ndlovu received a suspended sentence for housebreaking.