Sunday 19 November 2017

SA president accused of inciting racial tension

Aislinn Laing in Cape Town

FW DE KLERK, the former South African president who negotiated the end of apartheid with Nelson Mandela, has accused President Jacob Zuma of fomenting racial divisions.

The last leader of white South Africa launched an unprecedented attack on the conduct and policies of his successors in a speech that reflected deepening divisions in the so-called rainbow nation.

Mr de Klerk (75) said there was no justification for Mr Zuma's outspoken acolyte Julius Malema, the ANC's Youth League president, to sing 'Shoot the Boer'. Mr Malema calls the song "a legitimate struggle" anthem but is facing a hate speech charge for singing it.

"The historical context is irrelevant," Mr de Klerk said.

"It would be equally unacceptable for Afrikaners to sing Boer War songs calling on people to shoot the English -- or for Americans to sing World War II songs about killing Japanese."

He said Mr Malema's claim that white farmers were criminals who stole land was unacceptable and it was even more unacceptable for Mr Zuma to share a stage with him but not condemn his "racist" comments.

Mr de Klerk also accused the ANC of seeking to enforce black domination over racial minorities. "We are approaching a pivotal point in our history where all South Africans of good will . . . will have to rally around the constitutional rights, values and vision upon which our new non-racial democracy has been established," he said.

Zizi Kodwa, a spokesman for Mr Zuma, said Mr de Klerk had been misled by headlines. "Mr Zuma takes former President de Klerk very seriously but for him to just respond to headlines without checking the facts is very unfortunate."

•Meanwhile, anti-apartheid and ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu died in Johannesburg last night at the age of 92.

She was the widow of the party's former deputy president Walter Sisulu, one of former president Nelson Mandela's earliest mentors. The two men spent 25 years imprisoned together on Robben Island. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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