Former struggle stalwarts Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s daughter Zindzi Mandela has been left heartbroken after parliament’s refusal to heed the Economic Freedom Fighters’ call for former president FW De Klerk to exit the House before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday.
Chaos broke out in parliament after the EFF leader Julius Malema disrupted the sitting of the two houses of parliament attending Ramaphosa’s Sona by taking aim at De Klerk.
On a point of order, he called De Klerk a murderer who had denied that apartheid was a crime against humanity. He also alleged De Klerk had presided over Vlakplaas, an apartheid-era farm where anti-apartheid activists were murdered.
“We ask that he leave this parliament because he has blood on his hands. He does not belong here.”
Modise said De Klerk had been invited as a former president and turned down his request.
EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu said it was wrong to recognise De Klerk as a former president since he had never been elected by a democratic majority.
Modise said that the rules still applied, regardless of history. She denied leave for anyone to rise on any further points of order about De Klerk.
Malema said the ANC was “defending De Klerk in this house”.
The EFF had earlier defended its plans to disrupt the Sona, saying it formed part of the party’s oversight work.
The party then declared after a 10-minute break that they did not wish to be addressed by Ramaphosa as long as former president De Klerk and Minister Pravin Gordhan were present.
They then left the House on their own after the speaker asked them to leave.
The scene seems to have left Madikizela-Mandela heartbroken, questioning what the ruling party stood for.
She said: “As a loyal and dedicated member of @MYANC, I am heartbroken. This happened to my mother and many others under De Klerk’s watch. According to his interview, he justified this, therefore saying that my Mother and others deserved this aggression. What do we stand for?”
Speaking to the SABC in Cape Town on 2 February, marking 30 years after Mandela’s release from Victor Verster and the unbanning of political parties, De Klerk said that while many were killed during apartheid, more died due to genocide, adding he did not “fully” agree with the UN’s ruling that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
He said: “I don’t fully agree with that. I’m not justifying apartheid in any way. I did [wreak havoc] to millions of South Africans and I apologise for that, profusely apologise for that but there’s a difference between calling something a crime. Genocide is a crime, apartheid cannot be, that’s why I’m saying this.
“It cannot be compared with genocide, there was never a genocide under apartheid. Many people died but more people died because of black on black violence and because of apartheid. I took steps about that.
“Absolutely, I took steps about that, I appointed the Goldstone Commission and we fired or put on retirement more than 28 senior officers in the defence force. I called police and said: ‘You are no longer involved in politics, your task is to safeguard the people of South Africa’. We did take steps.”
Watch the interview from the SABC:
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)