Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says he is happy that President Cyril Ramaphosa did not grant the late former apartheid president FW de Klerk a state funeral.
Speaking during media briefing at the EFF’s headquarters in Johannesburg, Malema said: “The De Klerk Foundation said De Klerk is going to be cremated. It’s good […] he deserves cremation. So let them bury him the way they want to bury him.
“It’s good that Cyril didn’t provide a state funeral [because] we were going to disrupt it. [A] state funeral is not about the money, it’s about the honour. It is the highest honour our country can bestow on someone and it was not going to happen with De Klerk,” he said.
Malema’s comment after while after the Presidency announced that Ramaphosa had declared a national mourning period for De Klerk on Tuesday afternoon.
The EFF leader went on to suggest that Ramaphosa was “hurting”.
“De Klerk and Cyril have got a relationship of a special kind. They met underground and even above the ground […] that’s how much they knew each other.
“There’s no way he can’t fly the flag half-mast because he’s hurt. One of the men who looked after [him] passed away that’s what he will be thinking about. So he [is] deeply hurt,” Malema added.
The EFF previously said it would oppose a state funeral for De Klerk “by all means necessary”.
The national flag will be flown at half-mast “as a mark of respect” for De Klerk from sunset on Wednesday, until the evening of 21 November.
Government will also host a state memorial service in remembrance of apartheid South Africa’s last president at a later date.
“Government has consulted the De Klerk family and the FW de Klerk Foundation as part of preparing for this event in which government leaders, leaders of political parties and representatives of civil society will participate,” said the Presidency in a statement.
Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation recently announced that the former deputy president’s cremation and funeral would be held on Sunday, 21 November.
The ceremony will be for family members only and will not be open to the media.
De Klerk died last Thursday after a battle with mesothelioma cancer. He was 85 years old.
Speaking to the SABC on 2 February 2020, which marked 30 years after Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison and the unbanning of political parties, De Klerk said while many were killed during apartheid, more had died due to genocide.
He said he did not “fully” agree with the United Nation’s (UN’s) ruling that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
After his death, however, De Klerk changed his tune, and unreservedly apologised for the system of “separate development”, as it was also known.