VENTERSDORP, South Africa - Followers of one of South Africa's most notorious white supremacists cast his death as a rallying point for their cause yesterday, with one top member claiming his brutal death was "a declaration of war" by blacks against whites.
Eugene Terreblanche's supporters blamed his slaying on a ruling party official's performances of an apartheid-era song that advocates killing white farmers. Police, however, say it appeared to be a wage dispute that led two of Terreblanche's farm workers to bludgeon him in his bed Saturday.
South African officials are trying to avoid any rise in racial tensions 10 weeks before their country enters the global spotlight as host of soccer's World Cup.
President Jacob Zuma appealed for calm following "this terrible deed" and asked South Africans "not to allow agent provocateurs to take advantage of this situation by inciting or fueling racial hatred." Police Minister Nathi Mthetwa said Terreblanche was attacked by a man, 28, and a boy, 15, both black. Mthetwa said they were arrested and would appear in court Tuesday on murder charges.
Andre Visagie, a top member of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging movement, better known as the AWB, said his group would avenge Terreblanche's death. He gave no details but called the 69-year-old's death "a declaration of war by the black community." He echoed other members of the group in blaming African National Congress Youth Leader Julius Malema, saying he spread hate speech that led to Terreblanche's killing. - AP