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07 Apr 2010 16:29
The world’s media are expected to descend on Ventersdorp ahead of murdered Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre’Blanche’s funeral on Friday, with guest houses in the normally sleepy North West town inundated with bookings.
“We have never experienced anything like this, we have had bookings from journalists in France, Spain, Germany,” said the owner of the Ruimte Guest House on the edge of Ventersdorp.
“I am sending all my bookings to the other guest houses in town.
“It’s all journalists and they may have a problem because many of them can’t speak Afrikaans.
“They’ll need translators to help them get around Ventersdorp.”
Terre’Blanche, who started the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) in 1973, was beaten and hacked to death on his farm outside Ventersdorp on Saturday.
International media interest
The murder received wide international coverage, with some British newspapers warning of an impending race war ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The British Daily Star newspaper, under the headline “World Cup machete threat”, warned of “machete gangs roaming the streets” of South Africa after Terre’Blanche’s murder.
The newspaper warned that a “civil war” could erupt and threaten South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup.
Calm returns to Ventersdorp
Ventersdorp was calm on Wednesday, but on Tuesday white and black protesters had to be separated with barbed wire outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate’s Court when Terre’Blanche’s two alleged killers appeared.
The white group sang the apartheid era anthem “Die Stem” while the black group chanted “hero” when one of the alleged killers was escorted out of the court.
On Wednesday a white farmer in the nearby town of Lichtenburg was arrested for assaulting seven of his black workers.
Police spokesperson Adele Myburgh said she had been receiving calls at all hours of the night from foreign journalists from as far as Sweden on Terre’Blanche’s murder.
Some had even asked her to help them arrange accommodation in the town.
“They phone throughout the night, even at 4am,” she said, outside the Afrikaans Protestant Church where Terre’Blanche’s funeral will take place on Friday.
Special area for media
Myburgh said a special media area would be set aside outside the church.
“Mr Terre’Blanche’s family requested that the media respect the funeral and that they remain outside in a special area where the proceedings will be broadcast over speakers,” she said.
“Additional ambulances, the fire department as well as various police units and a special unit for public order policing are being deployed to the town,” Myburgh said.
“We have to prepare for anything, anything can happen, but we are ready.”
She said Terre’Blanche’s family had also requested the police to help with their safety.
After the funeral, at noon, Terre’Blanche will be buried in a grave on his farm outside Ventersdorp.
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