African National Congress (ANC) national spokesperson Pule Mabe has admitted that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was “correct” to object to the presence of apartheid’s last President FW de Klerk at last week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament.
Mabe made the admission in an interview with Sakina Kamwendo on SABC News on Monday morning.
He said, “They were correct to object to his presence in the House; that was correct. I’m not their member, I’m not entitled to speak on their behalf, but at an ideological level, they were correct.”
EFF chose ‘right platform’
Nevertheless, Mabe said it was “unheard of” to eject a guest who had been invited in terms of Parliament’s protocols.
This was the EFF’s demand, but Parliament’s presiding officers rejected it. The party had argued that de Klerk’s denial that apartheid was a crime against humanity meant he was not welcome in Parliament.
The ANC spokesperson also conceded that the EFF chose “the right platform” that gave their objection to de Klerk’s denial a higher level of prominence.
“Unfortunately, the level of prominence given to the statements of the ANC were not as widespread as they are coming out of SONA because the EFF chose the right platform, which is the SONA, which attracted the attention of everyone in the country,” he said.
After the dramatic scenes in Parliament, the FW de Klerk Foundation issued a statement on Friday and supported de Klerk’s remarks, sparking more condemnation.
Mabe said both de Klerk and his Foundation must apologise to the public and withdraw their comments.
He said, “There must be an apology out to the public. The statement by the Foundation ought to be retracted.
“Mr de Klerk and his Foundation ought to take the nation into their own confidence, commit to nation building practically [and] not just in words, [and] say these are the things they are going to be doing themselves to enforce a nation building project.”
Mabe stated that the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) should consider making proposals for jail term for those who deny that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
“There should be a sentence meted [out] against those, especially when such individuals are known to have been enforcers of the apartheid regime,” he said.
To watch the interview on YouTube, click here.