Before starting coalition negotiations, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) released a list of demands. One of those demands was removing Die Stem from the national anthem.
EFF leader Julius Malema has now clarified the party’s stance on the national anthem.
He wants the Afrikaans part of the national anthem rewritten, rather than removed.
“The ANC can’t even commit to removing Die Stem. We are not saying remove Afrikaans. We are saying remove Die Stem,” said Malema during a press conference this week.
“We don’t have a problem with Afrikaans, we have a problem with Die Stem,” he added.
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Malema even suggested some lyrics and started singing: “Baie mooi Suid-Afrika, baie mooi (Very nice South Africa, very nice).”
Malema said Die Stem was sung during the torture of people at Vlakplaas, the infamous farm that served as the headquarters for the South African police death squad during apartheid.
“And you ask those people to relive that torture; the ANC can’t even commit to that?” said Malema, referring to the stalled coalition negotiations between the EFF and ruling party.
The EFF’s coalition demands also included the establishment of a state-owned bank and land expropriation without compensation.
Political analyst Dale McKinley, however, said the party’s demands were unrealistic.
“I think they were political manoeuvres on the EFF’s part to gain support in the electoral process, which is understandable… A lot of their demands are sort of ideological policy positions that go way beyond even the local level of government,” said McKinley.
On Tuesday, Malema said the EFF had abandoned coalition talks with the ANC.
“The ANC was unable to give clear commitments on the issues we have raised. This is despite the EFF’s negotiations team giving the ANC an opportunity to present alternate timelines and deadlines on all these important policy questions,” he said.