Terre'Blanche to 'kick-start' AWB
Eugene Terre’Blanche’s release from prison next Friday would kick-start the revival of the right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) he founded 31 years ago, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
The organisation was put on ice while Terre’Blanche served more than half of a five-year jail term for assaulting security guard Paul Motshabi in 1996—leaving him disabled.
While Terre’Blanche had not yet decided whether to re-enter active politics, the AWB would be rejuvenated by his release, lawyer Gerrie Basson said.
“The organisation decided to keep a low profile while he was in prison, but now it will step to the fore once more.”
The AWB’s first activity would be to welcome Terre’Blanche back to society with a parade in Potchefstroom next Friday morning, Basson said.
This would be followed by a press conference in the town around noon.
The white supremacist movement is known by its military-style khaki clothing, berets and swastika insignia. Supporters frequently attended parades on horseback—and Terre’Blanche suffered much public ridicule when he once fell off his.
Terre’Blanche (60) is to return home to his wife Martie and daughter Bea in Ventersdorp after his release, Basson said.
The rightwinger lost all his life savings on court battles and the resultant imprisonment.
He was likely to return to farming, according to Basson.
“There are supporters who want to give him the opportunity to farm again. It is an option he is considering.”
The former actor and poet might also try to make a living off writing or start up another security company, Basson said.
“There are also many manufacturers of ploughs and fertilisers that will only be too glad, I’m sure, to have him as a sales representative”.
Terre’Blanche still earned some royalties from the sales of poems and CDs, Basson added.
On the AWB leader’s political views, his lawyer said Terre’Blanche’s ideologies remained unchanged.
“Look at [former president Nelson] Mandela—they locked him up for 27 years and failed to change his views.”
In past unsuccessful parole bids, Terre’Blanche repeatedly stated that prison had reformed him, and that he was a re-born Christian.
Correctional Services spokesperson Sarie Peens confirmed on Wednesday that Terre’Blanche would be freed on parole from the Rooigrond prison outside Mafikeng in the North West next Friday.
This did not mean that he was a free man. He would serve the remainder of his sentence under correctional supervision. His actions and movements would be monitored by a parole officer, and he would have to adhere to certain conditions, Peens said.
He would not be allowed to leave the Potchefstroom magisterial district without permission, could not be found guilty of another violent crime, and could not abuse alcohol or drugs.
She declined to comment on the impact Terre’Blanche made in prison, except to say that he was a well-behaved inmate who worked hard on the prison’s cattle, milk and goat farm. He also worked well with other prisoners.
Terre’Blanche was convicted in 1997 of attempting to murder Motshabi, his employee. He was found guilty at the same time of assaulting petrol attendant John Ndzima, and given a one-year sentence on that count.
The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, but Terre’Blanche was later granted leave to appeal against the attempted murder conviction only. The sentences were then split, and Terre’Blanche served half of the one-year sentence for Ndzima’s assault before being freed pending his appeal.
The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the other conviction and sentence in 2001, leaving Terre’Blanche with an effective five-year jail term to serve. He went back to prison in March 2001. - Sapa