Port Elizabeth - The FW De Klerk Foundation has lambasted Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema's attack on the former president as "bully boy tactics to disrupt democratic processes".
Stopping short of openly calling Malema a dictator, the Foundation in a statement on Friday said: "We have seen his kind before: those who wear colour-coded uniforms; who use bully boy tactics to disrupt democratic processes; who whip up race hatred and call their leaders “Führer, or Duce, or Commander in Chief”.
Malema holds the position of Commander in Chief and the EFF MPs are well-known for their red uniforms - overalls, hardhats, with aprons and scarves for women.
"Last night at the opening of SONA, FW de Klerk, former President and Nobel Peace Laureate, and his wife Elita had to endure wave after wave of vitriolic attacks by Julius Malema and EFF members of Parliament, clad in their trademark red boiler suits," the Foundation said.
"They claimed that his hands were dripping 'with blood', including the blood of those who had been slaughtered at Boipatong. Worst of all, FW de Klerk had denied - in a TV interview the previous week - that apartheid was 'a crime against humanity'," the statement said.
In his defence, the Foundation said that De Klerk had spent his term in office to dismantle apartheid and negotiate a new Constitution that would usher in a new dispensation where all South Africans were equal before the law.
"De Klerk has repeatedly acknowledged the grave injustices committed under apartheid and has sincerely apologised on a number of occasions to those who suffered under previous governments.
"He oversaw the process that culminated in the repeal of all the remaining apartheid laws," the statement said.
Further more, it said, De Klerk's rejection of classifying apartheid as a crime against humanity, despite the UN General Assembly's declaration in 1973 when it adopted the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, was premised on his assertions that "23 of the 31 signatories were, according to Freedom House in New York, “not free”.
In addition, it said, "the idea that apartheid was ‘a crime against humanity’ was, and remains, an ‘agitprop’ project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity - which have generally included totalitarian repression and the slaughter of millions of people".
"By contrast, some 23,000 people died in South Africa’s political violence between 1960 and 1994 - of whom fewer than 5,000 were killed by the security forces.
"Most of the rest of the deaths occurred in the conflict between the IFP and the ANC.
The statement contrasts this with atrocities under colonialism in other African countries.
"In Kenya, the British interned more than 320,000 people during the Mau-Mau uprising and hanged more than a thousand Mau-Mau members.
"In Algeria, the French killed more than 140,000 people in a war that claimed some 700,000 lives."
Calling for a balanced understanding of the past, the Foundation used close associate of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Allen's book, "Rabble Rouser for Peace", in which he highlights that no evidence was found to implicate De Klerk in the apartheid violence.
"None of this is meant to whitewash the injustices that were undoubtedly committed under apartheid," the Foundation said.
In an attempt to turn the tables on Malema, the Foundation said: "It is ironic that Julius Malema who launched the vitriolic attack on De Klerk, threatened to commit a real crime against humanity when he said on 7 November 2016 that 'We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people - at least not now'.”