April 06 2010 at 07:14AM
A bloodied tooth ripped out. A bloodstained wooden bed-frame. A filthy carpet. Crime-scene tape fluttering in the breeze.
These are some of the reminders of AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche’s last moments.
Yesterday, The Star visited the small farmhouse where he was killed on Saturday evening. Terre’Blanche lived in Ventersdorp, North West, with his family, but sometimes stayed overnight on the farm where he died.
Two farmworkers were arrested within hours of his death after handing themselves over to police for a killing apparently sparked by a pay dispute.
At the gate to Witrandjiesfontein farm, well-wishers placed flowers and messages of sympathy. They trickled to the farm gate clutching flowers to leave their mementoes.
Above the flowers, a placard read: “Stop Malema, stop the murders, Viva ET. God help us”.
Two supporters hugged each other and cried when they arrived at the farmhouse. The modest, run-down farmhouse had little in it. The walls were bare.
A pair of peacocks perched on the veranda railing, a sheet of plywood covered the broken front window and a stone lion “guarded” the house. Inside, an animal skin lay on the floor of a bathroom with camouflage-brown walls.
The mattress was gone from the single wooden bed in the room where Terre’Blanche had been bludgeoned, but bloodstains remained at the head of the bed base. On the stained carpet near the bed lay the bloodied tooth.
“We were expecting him back home that night. He had gone to the farm to make sure that everything was fine,” Terre’Blanche’s daughter Bea said. “We were shocked when a family friend and a pastor broke the news to us.”
As an only child, she was very close to her father. “He was strong-willed, determined and loving.”
Police prevented her from going into the house until her father’s body had been removed. She was told he had been found with one of the murder weapons lying on top of him.
Police previously said they had seized a knobkerrie and a panga.
Bea said her father had been unable to pay his workers because it was the Easter weekend and he could not get to the bank.
“He was not refusing to pay them. That’s not true,” she said.
She said that when she heard about the murder, she suspected farmworkers had killed him as it wasn’t easy to get onto the farm. “I knew it was easier if it’s people who worked there.”
She said her father had good relations with his workers. “He treated them like he would like to be treated – as human beings.”
She didn’t know the arrested workers well. The pair, a 15-year-old and a 28-year-old, were due to appear in court in Ventersdorp today on a charge of murder.
Yesterday, AP reported that the mother of the 15-year-old said from her home in Tshing township in Ventersdorp: “My son admitted that they did the killing.”
She said she had spoken to the teenager at the Ventersdorp police station after the pair had turned themselves in. She may not be named to protect the identity of her son as he is a minor.
She said that when her son and his co-worker asked Terre’Blanche for their money, he told them to first bring in the cows. After they had brought in the cows, they again asked for their money, which he then refused to give them.
The older worker then went to a storeroom. “He came back with an iron rod. He started hitting Terre’Blanche, with four blows to the head. Then my son says he took the iron rod and hit him with three blows,” the mother said.
The mother’s account of only one murder weapon – an iron rod – did not fit police reports of the knobkerrie and panga as the weapons.
AWB secretary-general Andre Visagie told AP that Terre’Blanche was bludgeoned so badly, he was barely recognisable, and described a gory murder scene indicative of great rage.
“There was blood all over the place, pools on the mattress, the pillow, the floor, and splatters on the walls and ceiling.”
Yesterday, the atmosphere remained tense in Ventersdorp. AWB members had planned to march, but then decided against it.
The organisation retracted its earlier threat to avenge Terre’Blanche’s murder. AWB commander Pieter Steyn said the statements about vengeance were made “in the heat of the moment”, because people were very angry about the murder.
“We have asked our members to refrain from attacks and racial remarks. There’s going to be no parade, no flags, no political speeches,” he said. – Additional reporting by AP and Staff Reporters
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on April 06, 2010