Extra locks for Terre'Blanche's body
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Women prepare flower arrangements inside the church in Ventersdorp for the funeral of Eugene Terreblanche. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)
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Ventersdorp - "A large number" of police will patrol Ventersdorp on Friday amidst fears of a possible outbreak of racial violence during the funeral of Eugene Terre'Blanche while extra locks have been added to the room where his body is being kept.
Police spokesperson Adele Myburgh said the police were prepared for anything after a shouting match between blacks and whites when the murdered Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader's alleged killers appeared in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court earlier in the week.
"The police will be keeping watch over the whole town, we are prepared for anything," Myburgh said.
"I can't say how many police officers will be on duty, but we have a large number who will be patrolling the town.
"We also have additional fire trucks and ambulances and the police's public order unit would also be on stand-by. We are ready."
Myburgh said the police would keep a close watch on the township of Tsing, where Cosatu had arranged "an urgent mass meeting with the farm workers, farm dwellers and the Ventersdorp communities" to coincide with Terre'Blanche's funeral.
"We can't stop any organisation from holding a meeting," Myburgh said.
"But we have a lot of police on duty on Friday and they will keep watch over the township too."
Cosatu's North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said the purpose of the meeting was to make sure that the farm workers, farm dwellers and the communities around Ventersdorp remained disciplined and safe, and "agreed on the approach to deal with the current crisis and the planned attack against farm workers, dwellers and communities".
Phetoe said the meeting would also discuss their approach to the next court date appearance of Terre'Blanche's alleged killers.
Thousands expected at funeral
A few thousand people are expected to attend Terre'Blanche's 12:00 funeral while a large contingent of journalists, many from overseas, are expected as well.
Beeld's Nicolize van der Walt reported on Thursday that extra locks had been installed in the room at the funeral home where Terre'Blanche's remains are being held, apparently to keep nosy journalists out.
"I immediately banned all journalists from being here and refused to speak to them," said Elsa Meyer, from Eli-Shammah undertakers.
"This is a small community and we respect each other. I share people's pain and the worst times of their lives. I feel the family should now be given an opportunity to grieve."
Co-owner of Eli-Shammah, Jean Meyer, also explained how difficult it would be to conduct the funeral.
"It's terrible to conduct a funeral for people you know. I've been living in Ventersdorp for 28 years and everyone knows everyone.
"It's also difficult to do a funeral when people have been murdered so viciously," said Meyer.
Terre'Blanche will be buried in a rosewood coffin with wooden and gold handles.
There will be a private viewing beforehand which will apparently only be attended by five people.
Terre'Blanche's widow, who was unable to hold back the tears, finalised the arrangements for his funeral with the undertakers on Thursday afternoon.
Martie Terre'Blanche was holding two long-stemmed roses tied together with golden ribbon. The emotional widow was supported by an unknown man dressed in khaki.
Among other things, Martie looked at flower arrangements and, along with the undertaker, decided that a large, framed photo of Terre'Blanche on his horse will be displayed in the church.
The farm Witrandjiesfontein was abuzz with activity on Thursday where the double grave had to be plastered and painted white in time for the funeral.
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