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Government to keep an eye on former president FW de Klerk’s memorial in Cape Town

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The late former apartheid president FW de Klerk. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the issue of FW De Klerk had become a tricky debate in the country.

THE government says it will keep an eye on possible protests at late former President FW de Klerk’s memorial service in Cape Town on Sunday.

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said the unity of the country was important.

He said the issue of De Klerk had become a tricky debate in the country.

De Klerk died of cancer in his Cape Town home a few weeks ago and was cremated at a private funeral.

However, the government had indicated it would have a memorial service later.

Gungubele said our forebears had fought against divisions. It was important that there should be no issues that bring about divisions.

He said if all South Africans were bound by the Constitution, they remained a family. It would be unfortunate to exclude De Klerk in this mission of unity and a single family. If De Klerk took part in negotiations, he did that with leaders of other parties.

Gungubele said many leaders had ensured there was Constitutional order and democracy in the country. It was this Constitution that guaranteed freedom of movement, association and other freedoms.

Gungubele said the issue of De Klerk continued to spark debate.

“I think this has become a tricky debate in our country. But what I want to state here is that our forebears fought against division, whether it is based on tribe, whether it is based on race. They committed that those who are for unity are on our side, and those are against unity are our enemies. Whoever was our enemy before, took an initiative to be part of a united South Africa.

“My understanding of the mission of our forebears is that one has become part of us because we are serious when we say we are against division when we say we are serious about racism.

“Those who become part of SA that affiliates to this Constitution should be on our side, and we will continue differing on the path of Constitutional democracy, on the modalities on how to pursue its freedoms. But as long as we are bound by the same Constitution, we are a family of a single nation. In this instance, it will be unfortunate to exclude FW de Klerk,” said Gungubele.

“My view is very simple. If he took this initiative to be part of the process of the negotiations, made some mistakes in the process after negotiations and left the Government of National Unity. But the major thing he did, together with our leaders, was to agree on a process of ensuring there is a Constitution in this country, which gives our people their freedom, this freedom to march and everything,” he said.

He said it was useful when there were leaders who subscribed to nation building.

He said they would not allow disruptions at De Klerk’s memorial unless people had applied for permission to protest.

“Disruptions, we will have to stop them because if they are illegal, they will have to be stopped. If they are legal, it means there is a protest, you apply, and you do all those things. But whatever is illegal around that event is going to be dealt with in terms of the law,” said Gungubele.

Political Bureau

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