UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

De Klerk scolded me for releasing political prisoners before him, says Holomisa

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Feb 8, 2020

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Durban - UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says the official end of apartheid on February 2 1990, came soon after he had been castigated by former president FW De Klerk, when he released political prisoners ahead of the national government. 

Holomisa spoke to Independent Media this week as the country marked 30 years since De Klerk announced the end of apartheid. 

The former military leader of Transkei said De Klerk had flown down to Transkei early in January specifically to “castigate” him. 

He said his sin was to be ahead of the national government in putting a moratorium on the death penalty and releasing political prisoners without consulting him.

“He said ‘why are you doing this, taking unilateral decisions’, but we told him that ‘we are independent’ and that this is a party of change, and asked if he was joking by talking about the need for change, and he went back to Pretoria. 

“Then on February 2, he released political prisoners and made an announcement that he would unban the ANC whereas he was telling us in January ‘why are you allowing the ANC and PAC to move freely,” said Holomisa.

Nevertheless, he said he welcomed De Klerk's announcement, but “we did not want him to be a hypocrite.” 

“We did not want him to poke his nose into our affairs when we are doing our own things,” he said.

He said when the announcement was made, he was looking forward to the release of Nelson Mandela as many people in the former Transkei were desperate to see him for the first time. 

“We waited too long to see Madiba because everybody was curious to see what he looked like. 

“So these guys were taking many hours,” he said. 

He said after the announcement he witnessed ANC and PAC members toyi-toying on the streets of Mthatha in celebration. 

“We had a big rally to welcome Madiba home in Mthatha a few weeks after he was released,” he said.

Political Bureau 

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