The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has vowed to take to the streets should the government grant a state funeral to the late former president of the apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk.
De Klerk passed away this morning from a cancer that affected the lining of his lungs on Thursday morning. He was 85.
His passing was followed by mixed reactions and debate around his legacy.
The EFF is one of the parties that have criticised de Klerk for his part in upholding the apartheid regime.
In a statement released by the party on Thursday evening, the EFF says it will oppose “a state funeral for a man who died without accounting for the blood on his hands.”
“To honour de Klerk with a state funeral would be to spit in the face of gallant liberation heroes who suffered in his hands and had their children murdered in his quest to stifle the freedom of black people. A state funeral for de Klerk would be an insult to the families of the Cradock Four, it would undermine the momenry of the people of Boipatong, Mthata, Bhisho, the people of Vosloorus, and many communities who were maimed by by his state-sponsored black-on-black violence,” reads the statement in part.
EFF Statement On The Death Of Apartheid President F.W De Klerk pic.twitter.com/SgWBEXLriy
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 11, 2021
At his last appearance in parliament, de Klerk faced a hostile reception from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader Julius Malema demanded that he be kicked out. This followed shortly after de Klerk had suggested that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
“It is an insult to those who died and tortured at Vlakplaas under the instructions of De Klerk, to have De Klerk sitting in a democratic parliament. I, therefore, suggest, Honourable Speaker, that we please request De Klerk to leave the house. For us to have peaceful proceedings, we ask the commander of Vlakplaas, the apartheid apologist, a man with blood on his hands to leave this parliament because he does not belong here,” said Malema at the time.
As the country continues to share thoughts on the legacy of late former deputy president FW de Klerk, Lukanyo Calata, son of one of the Cradock 4 has expressed dismay that the former statesman took vital information about the killing of his father to his grave.
“The death of former president FW de Klerk, is indeed sad. He takes the secrets and the truth about what he knew about the deaths of the Cradock 4 and many others to his grave with him. What he also does is, he robs us of the opportunity of finding out, who were some of those ANC leaders who had entered into informal deals with former apartheid operatives to prevent the prosecution of TRC cases”
The Fort Calata Foundation released a statement on Thursday evening following de Klerk’s passing earlier in the day.
The foundation has called on the NPA to expedite the prosecution of TRC cases “before more of those implicated in the apartheid atrocities dies without being held accountable for their crimes.”
RIP FW De Klerk | De Klerk takes secrets of murder of the Cradock 4 to his grave: Lukhanyo Calata
Professor of Journalism at Wits University, Anton Harber, “I have strong recollections of the brutality, the horrors, the censorship, the long periods of detention, the killings and the assassinations that happened while de Klerk was in government. So, one looks at his death with mixed feelings. It’s clearly a complicated and mixed heritage that he leaves behind him.”
RIP FW de Klerk | Reaction to passing of former apartheid president: Anton Harber
The De Klerk Foundation has released a video on social media in which former deputy president FW de Klerk again apologises to South Africans for apartheid in an emotional last message.
In the clip, de Klerk apologises unreservedly for apartheid and acknowledges the hurt and wrongs caused by the system.
He appears visibly frail in the pre-recorded video message.
The now-deceased elder statesman also thanked those who supported him during difficult times.
“On many occasions, I apologised for the pain and the indignity that apartheid brought to persons of colour in South Africa. Many believed me, but others didn’t. So, let me, therefore, today, in this last message repeat, I, without qualification, apologise for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, browns and Indians in South Africa.”
FW De Klerk’s last words to South Africans:
President of the Pan African Congress Mzwanele Nyontsho has referred to de Klerk as the architect of a constitution that keeps Africans landless.
“Our hearts go with the families, the victims of de Klerk. We’re worried that de Klerk died without telling us who pulled the trigger in Umtata, Pendulo children. We’re just worried about them. We don’t care about de Klerk. We just wish and hope that his remains will be thrown in the sea, and of course, not in the African seas. We don’t care about de Klerk, the architecture of the so-called new constitution,” says Nyontsho.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says FW De Klerk led a discredited political party that wreaked havoc on the lives of black South Africans.
De Klerk passed away without acknowledging the crimes against humanity of the Apartheid regime, such as the Boipathong Massacre.
RIP FW De Klerk | President Ramaphosa sends condolences to the De Klerk family: