ET killer gets life but accomplice walks free
Minutes after Chris Mahlangu - the murderer of Eugene Terre Blanche - was sentenced to life in prison, members of an Afrikaner far-right group tied an effigy of the killer to a bakkie and dragged it around the Ventersdorp Circuit Court before hanging it from a tree.
The Ware Boere Weerstandsbeweging (True Boer Resistance Movement), a group of former AWB members, believes that Mahlangu should hang for the murder.
The right-wingers brought with them a marching band that played When the Saints Go Marching In.
Members of Ventersdorp's black community sang struggle songs in response. About 30 policemen kept the groups apart.
An hour later the crowds had dispersed.
Judge John Horn yesterday allowed 18-year-old Patrick Ndlovu who was 15 at the time of the killing, to go free, giving him a suspended sentence of two years for housebreaking.
Horn sentenced Mahlangu to 15 years in prison for robbery and 25 years for a murder that he called "brutal and vicious".
The judge ruled that Mahlangu had shown lack of remorse and "falsely accused Terre Blanche of sodomy, undoubtedly causing his friends and family much hurt and dismay".
He said that Mahlangu's recent claim that Terre Blanche had infected him with HIV was "deliberately malicious, unfounded and plainly false".
Before he was driven to jail, a smiling Mahlangu said that if he had not killed Terre Blanche he would have been killed himself.
Terre Blanche's brother, Andries, said the full truth about what happened on the night of the murder remained unknown because Mahlangu had not testified in court.
Terre Blanche was hacked with a panga and bludgeoned with an iron rod, according to forensic evidence.
Because of the use of two weapons, Andries believes Mahlangu did not act alone.
He also believed that Ndlovu should not have been released, claiming that he would soon break into a house again.
Judge Horn said that Ndlovu had demonstrated genuine remorse about the crime.
"I believe you have served your sentence [in a place of safety] and punishing you at this stage will do more harm than good.
"However, you have to realise that crime does not pay."
After the judgment Ndlovu's lawyer, Xola Majavu, held his client in a close embrace.
Majavu said Ndlovu might be taken out of the country to ensure his safety.
The youth's uncle, Thomas Ndlovu, said he was "very happy" that his nephew was free.
"I am ready to take the boy back, take him to school."
Terre Blanche's widow, Martie, left the court in tears.