A black farmworker has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'Blanche at his home.

Chris Mahlangu, 29, pleaded guilty to the murder of Terre'Blanche , who ran the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) in the small town of Ventersdorp in April 2010 but said he had acted in self-defence following a violent argument over wages.

Mahlangu had also claimed that the right-wing leader had raped him and infected him with HIV.

The court rejected his claims and sentenced Mahlangu to life in jail. Judge John Horn said Mahlangu had failed to express genuine remorse for killing Terre'Blanche in his bed with an axe. He had displayed a "flagrant disregard for the deceased's right to life".

Co-accused Patrick Ndlovu, who was 16 at the time of the incident and originally could not be named, was found not guilty of murder and robbery but found guilty of house-breaking. He was given a two-year suspended sentence.

The trial and sentencing have fanned already existing racial tensions in the country, with members of the AWB gathering outside the court with a black doll with a noose around its neck and a sigh reading: "Hang Mahlangu."

Terre'Blanche, who was 69 when he died, co-founded the AWB to fight for an independent Boer homeland. Members wore military uniforms and adopted flags with a symbol reminiscent of the Nazi swastika.

Terre'Blanche was sentenced in 1997 to six years for the attempted murder of a black security guard and assaulting a black gas station worker.

Written by Ewan plamer