The AWB leadership on Tuesday unexpectedly announced a new leader had been appointed to replace Eugene Terre’Blanche. No meeting of members and no voting; nor is the appointment temporary. Henceforth Steyn van Ronge will lead the movement.
Van Ronge would give no title other than “mister” and “leader”. His mandate, he says, is to continue implementation and expand a security policy through which the AWB will prevent further farm killings. He would give no details of the plan, other than to say the movement intends to work within the law.
Nor would he provide membership numbers. Throughout the last days members of the media have been asking how many members the AWB has. Some officials have answered “in the millions” while privately confessing that to be untrue. Van Ronge would say only that thousands of new membership applications are being received daily.
Van Ronge is 55 and farms mostly cattle near Zastron in the Free State. He has held various positions within the AWB since joining in 1988, most notably that of under-leader and chairman under Terre’Blanche.
He has two daughters, one a medical doctor and the other studying towards becoming an advocate. He hopes his only son, who is a student at the University of the Free State, will some day take over the farm – if conditions in the country allow.
“I’m still positive, but my advice to my children was that they should qualify themselves professionally, so that they can leave the country if there are dramatic changes,” he says.
His son is not an active AWB member, he says, because that would be difficult on campus. “I believe he supports me,” Van Ronge says.
Terre’Blanche will be buried at his family farm near Ventersdorp on Friday after a church service in the town. The AWB has predicted that thousands of supporters will arrive for the event.
By Phillip de Wet
Photo: The Daily Maverick
Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month
An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.
Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.
You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.
So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.
Donald Trump is the first American president not to own a dog since William McKinley in 1901.