On 23 April 1997, Eugene TerreBlanche, leader of the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging (AWB) was convicted on two counts, for attempted murder and assault in a Potchefstroom court and sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was handed down for the brutal assault of one of his workers, a Mr Paul Motshabi, whom he beat over the head and neck in March 1996. Mr Motshabi suffered brain damage in this attack. The reason for the attack was that Mr Motshabi was allegedly eating on the job. The second conviction arose from an incident two weeks before the assault on Mr Motshabi, when TerreBlanche set his dog on Mr Mdzima, a petrol attendant. A part of the sentence was that TerreBlanche was denied the right to own a firearm, as his actions had showed him to be an individual prone to violent outbursts.
TerreBlanche came to the public eye during the early nineties when the AWB stormed the World Trade Centre during the negotiations between the Liberation Movements and the Apartheid government regarding the transfer of power and later again during the abortive coup attempt in Bophuthatswana, when the AWB attempted to prop up the Mangope regime.