Johannesburg - The start of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s fourth State of the Nation Address was delayed by just over 94 minutes on Thursday night, when EFF MPs led by Julius Malema demanded that FW de Klerk be asked to leave Parliament.
De Klerk was the last apartheid president and he served as deputy president during former president Nelson Mandela’s term between 1994 and 1999. He was invited by Parliament.
He drew some criticism last week, when he said apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
In an interview with the SABC, he said: “I don’t fully agree with that (it was evil and a crime against humanity), and I am not justifying apartheid in anyway.
“It did, and profusely apologised for that, but there’s a difference in calling something a crime, like genocide, is a crime, apartheid cannot be, and that is why I am saying this. “It can never be compared with genocide, there was never genocide,” he said in the interview.
WATCH: De Klerk Must Go
— IG: @leighmathys (@LeighMathys)
On the back of de Klerk’s comments, the EFF, which was expected to disrupt SONA on a ticket that demanded Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan be removed, used the former apartheid president’s remarks as the basis for their continued interjections and points of order.
They asked National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to remove de Klerk, but she declined, telling them he was an invited guest. But the EFF refused to let up, forcing Modise to suspend the House after almost an hour of back-and-forth interjections. The Red Berets staged walk out when the House reconvened.
Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa, who was speaking on behalf of Cabinet, reiterated that de Klerk would not be removed from the House and that he was welcome, as was Gordhan - who was also targeted by the EFF.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/SONA2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SONA2020Anyone who doesn't want to hold ministers accountable, who doesn't want to be held accountable will never receive respect from the EFF, says @EFFSouthAfrica leader Julius Malema says outside Parliament. Video: Sisonke Mlamla pic.twitter.com/6NSknJqi1a
— IOL News (@IOL)
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, speaking after the president’s address, said it was the correct decision for de Klerk not to be removed, as there had been reconciliation and he formed a part of the 1994 Government of Unity.
In 1993, De Klerk and former president Nelson Mandela were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes for ending apartheid peacefully. The following year, Mandela appointed the De Klerk as one of his two deputy presidents.
Taking to social media on Friday, Zindzi Mandela, who is South Africa’s Ambassador to Denmark and Mandela's daughter, scoffed at the ANC’s defence of de Klerk.
“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 that my mother and others deserved this aggression. What do we stand for?” she tweeted.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/MYANC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MYANCI 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 that my Mother and others deserved this aggression. What do we stand for? pic.twitter.com/wN0dPorOQ2
— Zindzi Mandela (@ZindziMandela)
Irvin Jim, the general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa), also hit out at the ANC.undefined
Carl Niehaus, spokesperson for the Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association, was also scathing, saying:
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/FWDeKlerk?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FWDeKlerk. APARTHEID WAS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY! De Klerk presided over the #BoiphatongMassacre, #ThirdForceViolence, & terrible apartheid crimes. He should be arrested, tried and imprisoned for these crimes. pic.twitter.com/Go48O7Gjse
— Carl Niehaus (@niehaus_carl)
SOCIAL MEDIA ON DE KLERK
Understand this please.— Sharné Zoë (@Zoe_SZi) February 14, 2020
The reason De Klerk and his people do not think Apartheid was a crime against humanity is because they don't view black people as humanity.
Simple as that.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/MYANC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MYANClast night is called spytwo"Shibobo". They thought they going to defend Pravin but ended up defending #DeKlerk #SONA20 #SONA2020 pic.twitter.com/BRgcKHUqel
— Rorisang (@MapenaRorisang)
FW de Klerk has been attending SONA all these years, Democratic Govt recognised him, but last week this man said "Apertheid was not crime against humanity" now for us it means Chris Hani, Steve Biko, Mandela, Sobukwe, Solomon Mahlangu, Mama Nomzamo all others deserve to be.....— Man’s NOT Barry Roux (@AdvoBarryRoux) February 14, 2020
Over the years, FW De Klerk has maintained a regular attendance at the State of the Nation Address. The EFF has known this & never complained about his presence. Tonight, they decided to use him as part of their manufactured outrage.— McIntosh Polela (@toshpolela) February 13, 2020
De Klerk didn’t do anything but fold.— Culprit (@CulpritEnter) February 14, 2020
He didn’t bring freedom to the people ...he succumbed to the people’s pressure
That’s no ones hero. That’s someone we defeated
We don’t celebrate these people
Guys come on !
Today’s headlines should be— Mmadikgosi Matshego (@Mmadikgosi_23) February 14, 2020
Breaking News: ANC backs apartheid President De Klerk who killed people of Boipatong.... pic.twitter.com/O1fiSKIdsf
— the name's Vuyo (@PhandleVuyo)
— Ngithe NGINENTOMBI!!! ✋🏾🙄 (@PapiZwane)
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/SONA2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SONA2020 pic.twitter.com/1Sr5Fqz8N9
— Sam Beynon #KanyaCekesheIsFree (@BeynonSammy)