Can right wing supremacists threaten the World Cup?

Followers of Eugene Terreblanche may retaliate after the murder of the far right leader at his farm in Ventersdorp. What are the possible implications for World Cup 2010 in South Africa?

The Associated Press quoted a leading member of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) group using inflammatory language about "a declaration of war" by blacks against whites.

Andre Visagie apparently vowed "to avenge the death of Eugene Terreblanche and says his group will warn soccer teams to avoid the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."

Visagie is also quoted as saying "We're going to warn those nations, ‘You are sending your soccer teams to a land of murder’. Don't do that if you don't have sufficient protection for them."

Sources say up to 3,000 white farmers have been killed since the mid-nineties. This latest murder took place against a background of rising tension following the release of a song calling for death to Boers and farmers (both terms are shorthand for whites).

It is unclear whether the two farm workers arrested following the murder were aware of the now infamous song. The earliest reports say they were in dispute with Terreblanche over unpaid wages. Weapons found at the scene were the same as those referred to in the song, although this could be coincidental.

Whatever the circumstances, Visagie's warning possibly represents a greater threat to the World Cup than strikes, urban disorder and Islamic terrorists.

Football is popular amongst the majority Black population, while Whites prefer cricket and rugby. It could only take a few home-grown extremists to disrupt the World Cup, especially in cities close to the volatile North West Province, such as Pretoria and Johannesburg. The latter boasts two stadiums and will host the final itself.

Thankfully, reports from Sunday afternoon suggested the AWB were beginning to rein in their extremist rhetoric. SA President Jacob Zuma should now respond by taking a firmer grip on wildcat elements in the ANC. Calmer heads must prevail before the situation gets out of hand.

1 comment:

Kay-EL said...

I know my people - I am an Afrikaner - a Boer - and I am also a longstanding member of the African National Congress.

The AWB have threatened war before and nothing comes of it, they have too much to lose. They will posture and range - their leader has just been brutally murdered. But it will blow over.

The World Cup and visitors to South Africa won't be in any danger.

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