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07 Jun 2004 15:18
New National Party Gauteng leader Johan Kilian has resigned from the party but says it has nothing to do with weekend talks the party held with the African National Congress.
“I already told [NNP leader] Marthinus van Schalkwyk three or four days after the election that I wanted to leave.
“I stayed on for the sole purpose to look after my staff and ensure that they had jobs and finish some administrative business. The timing must not be seen as reaction to what happened on Saturday.”
Kilian, who has been with the party for 24 years, said he is leaving politics to return to the business world.
“I was in the estate agency business for 30 years.
And I am in negotiations with some partners to resume that.
“This is the first time since 1915 that my grandfather, father or myself has not been in an active managerial position in the party.
Asked how he felt about the weekend talks between the ANC and the NNP, Kilian said it was the only logical option for the party.
“Whatever gaps there are between the ANC and the NNP must be closed.
“I still believe that the way forward for South Africa is for people to work together. The vehicle for doing that in the NNP was rejected by the voters. If you are trying to sell a product that does not appeal to the market, it’s time to move on,” he said.
Kilian said he was part of the verligte (enlightened) group in the old National Party that made possible the party’s change in political direction.
“I had a part in that. I was an administrator in Boipotang and Sharpville. And then I was part of the first 10 years of democracy where I could put my teeth into getting things on track.
“But now I must get out of politics. I can’t run a business and still be in politics.
“I am undergoing a political detoxification if I can put it that way ... I am trying to get the political toxin out of my blood,” he said.
NNP spokesperson Carol Johnson confirmed that Kilian is leaving politics for business and that the party has received his resignation.
“He’s leaving to start a business not because of the talks but nobody will believe that,” said Johnson, who has been dealing with a media furore around the resignation.
“Johan is starting a business regardless of how the media chooses to read it.”
Van Schalkwyk announced after an NNP federal council meeting on Saturday that the future of the party lies in strengthening its ties with the government-led ANC.—Sapa
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