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29 Mar 2004 08:00
Former President FW de Klerk was among a string of National Party (NP) leaders President Thabo Mbeki blamed on Sunday for South Africa’s current problems.
Mbeki said De Klerk, PW Botha, John Vorster, Andries Treurnicht and HF Verwoerd sent the police to shoot African National Congress (ANC) cadres in impoverished black areas instead of addressing their needs.
“Those are the people who left many problems for us,” Mbeki said at a packed Bakenberg stadium, outside Mokopane (formerly Potgietersrus).
“For 10 years we have been waiting to correct the same things Boers did to us.”
He said the only thing NP (now New National Party) leaders did was to “send the police to shoot us”.
Mbeki said the ANC would overcome the problems of unemployment, crime and the provision of clean water the same way it had defeated apartheid.
“Today, we don’t have PW Botha and Vorster as prime ministers of our country.
They are no longer the government of our country,” he said at a rally at the St Mark’s College in Jane Furse, near Lebowakgomo.
“De Klerk is the only leader of his generation of senior NNP members who has consistently supported the ANC and the New National Party working together.
“He unbanned all liberation movements in 1990 and has recently accepted an undisclosed amount of money as a donation from former ANC member Tokyo Sexwale.”
Mbeki, who wiped sweat off his face on several occasions as a result of the hot day, was in Limpopo for two days to canvas votes for the ANC.
At one stage during Mbeki’s walk around the stadium the crowd pushed a fence flat just to shake his hand.
Mbeki rearranged the set-up at the stadium to allow people pressed against the fence to come inside, sit on the pitch and listen to him speak.
He climbed onto the back of a 4x4 bakkie, before addressing the rally.
A teenage girl fainted while President Thabo Mbeki was addressing the rally.
But Lucia Rachidi (20) said she was not injured. Emergency personnel took her to a truck and she was seated under shade.
“It’s the first time this happened but I’m fine,” Rachidi said.
A journalist complained of the high temperatures saying even an air conditioner could not withstand the heat.
Traditional leaders attended the four rallies Mbeki addressed at the weekend—two on Saturday and two on Sunday. All the stadiums where he spoke were packed to capacity.
He said the ANC, working together with traditional leaders, would solve the problems facing South Africa.
“The ANC is very determined to work with the traditional leaders to solve these problems.”
Referring to opposition parties, Mbeki urged the people to listen to them but raised questions about their credentials.
“I tried to think and read history books, maybe something is written about them, but they aren’t there.
“When we were fighting for our freedom, where were they?” Mbeki asked. The crowd responded: “Waar was jy?” - Sapa
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