THE leader of the extremist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) and at least nine of his top officials were arrested before dawn on Jan. 28 in what appears to be a new government crackdown against both left- and right-wing radicals.
Mr. Eugene Terre'Blanche and his colleagues appeared briefly in court yesterday and were granted bail of $40. They were told charges would be filed during their next court appearance, scheduled for March 9.
Police said that the right-wing activists were arrested in connection with an incident in the Western Transvaal town of Ventersdorp in August last year.
On that occasion, armed members of the AWB clashed with police and black commuters outside a political meeting addressed by President Frederik de Klerk.
Three AWB members died in the clash, and 58 people, including several policemen, were injured.
The AWB is a paramilitary organization which demands a separate white state and has threatened to lead a nationwide rebellion if Mr. De Klerk endorses black majority rule. It is not represented in Parliament, but has close links with the right-wing Conservative Party.
South African police colonel Henry Austen said the attorney general had decided to prosecute the 10 AWB men in connection with the violence at Ventersdorp.
On Jan. 27, the authorities arrested the secretary-general of the left-wing Pan Africanist Congress and 11 PAC members following a clash between police and black demonstrators at Ennerdale, a mixed-race neighborhood south of Johannesburg.
State-run television news showed policemen shooting at demonstrators as they turned to run away after a warning to disburse. At least six of the protesters were injured by rubber bullets.
The new hard line against political radicals followed an offer by De Klerk to put the issue of self-determination on the political agenda in accordance with the demand of the Conservative Party.
But CP leader Andries Treurnicht has rejected the offer on the grounds that President De Klerk's commitment to an "undivided" South Africa has already precluded the option of self-determination for whites.