Malema desperately tried to show that by inviting him to the SONA, the ANC had endorsed his views about apartheid. This is nonsense; the ANC did not invite De Klerk to address its national executive committee or lekgotla, writes Adriaan Basson.
As I watched the e-mails drop in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s fourth State of the Nation Address last week, it dawned on me what a great gift Ramaphosa had received from Julius Malema and FW de Klerk.
Instead of the country debating every single detail from Ramaphosa’s speech – and there is plenty to debate – South Africa is talking about whether apartheid was a crime against humanity or not, and if De Klerk should have been allowed to attend the SONA.
This gives Ramaphosa a welcome reprieve from answering tough questions about the details lacking from his annual address, including how a state bank and sovereign what-what will save us from economic demise.
Malema, who had his bluff called by Speaker Thandi Modise on Thursday night, is a master of diversion.
He realised that his party’s unsubstantiated and defamatory claims against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan alone would not be enough to get them ejected by Parliament’s infamous white shirts.
He needed something else that would stir up emotions and get them the same level of public sympathy the EFF had during the #paybackthemoney Zuma years.
De Klerk, in a moment of acute derangement, came to Malema’s rescue by telling an interviewer that he disagreed with the United Nation’s declaration that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
De Klerk’s argument goes something like this: we only killed a few thousand people, not hundreds of thousands like in Algeria, Kenya or Rwanda. And this is from someone who has a Nobel peace prize medal on his mantelpiece!
Let there be no doubt that colonialism and apartheid inflicted physical and mental scars on millions of South Africans for centuries and to deny that would be a crime against humanity in itself.
If you are white and agree with De Klerk’s statement, do yourself a favour and ask any black person to tell you their life story.
Malema realised the potency of this incredibly insensitive and foolish statement and took full advantage of De Klerk’s presence at the SONA to score political mileage.
He was a guest of Parliament.
Even if you don’t agree with him, he has the right to be there. It’s called democracy.
It’s the only realistic outcome.
Next week’s budget speech may yet turn out to be the real state of the nation address.
– Basson is editor-in-chief of News24