The effects of apartheid are still prevalent today through crime, unemployment and poverty
IT’S UNFORTUNATE that FW de Klerk’s comment on apartheid has become something of a political mud-slinging affair between the ANC and the EFF.
The nation watched in horror last week as ANC and EFF MPs reduced the State Of the Nation address (Sona) to chaotic scenes after the EFF demanded the removal from Parliament of De Klerk, who had been invited by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This was not De Klerk’s first Sona invitation, as it is a norm for the head of state to extend invitations to past presidents.
But what was exceptional about last week is that De Klerk came to Parliament soon after the Nobel Peace Prize winner told the world that the apartheid system was a not a crime against humanity.
Indeed, it is such a bizarre statement to make, considering the displacement of families, murders, poverty and misery that this system brought to blacks, coloureds and Asians who lived in segregated areas.
The effects of apartheid are still prevalent today through crime, unemployment and poverty, despite the imaginary Rainbow Nation born in 1994 after apartheid.
Another unfortunate part about this De Klerk debacle was to watch the ANC being pushed into a corner and accept De Klerk, when the EFF wanted him out.
This, to some extent, made the Luthuli House brigade seem like they were in agreement that apartheid was “not so bad”. However, the leading party changed its tune yesterday and it asked for parliamentarians to consider not inviting De Klerk again. The EFF also kicked off a campaign to have him stripped of his Nobel Prize.
The country should be careful not to be blinded by emotions, as the EFF initial plan was to disrupt Sona by demanding Ramaphosa fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over his “poor” handling of state-owned enterprises.
The red berets made this plan known weeks before Sona and De Klerk became a fall-back when the Gordhan plan failed.
As much as De Klerk’s comments were hurtful to the victims of apartheid, however, the backlash against him should come from a good heart and not for scoring political points.
It was good for De Klerk to withdraw his statement yesterday, but the damage was already done, unfortunately.