Mbeki gesture inexcusable

I am livid that President Thabo Mbeki thought it fit to attend the funeral of one of the most brutal dictators of the last century, PW Botha.

I am livid that President Thabo Mbeki thought it fit to attend the funeral of one of the most brutal dictators of the last century, PW Botha.

To add insult to injury, Mbeki was humiliated when some mourners refused to stand when he entered. As our first citizen, he took our national spirit to the funeral and allowed Botha a final opportunity to rub it in manure.

Botha presided over the most murderous period in our history. His actions contributed directly to the deaths of tens of thousands of people here and in neighbouring countries.

His agents put cyanide in drinking water and sowed landmines in fields. As a result, large tracts of land in Angola and Mozambique cannot be used.

In his doomsday scenario of being overwhelmed by the forces of liberation, he planned to kill as many black people as possible, even if a few whites were sacrificed. Instead of being tried for genocide, he was rewarded with a government pension.

Mbeki's visit to the Wilderness was an unnecessary act of reconciliation. Black people live daily with the consequences of the one-sided Kempton Park settlement. The social structures created by apartheid are still unaltered, with token adjustments to placate the majority.

Mbeki's gesture cannot be excused away by "protocol". We owe no extended etiquette to that racist, finger-wagging brute. I fail to see how sanitising the horrors of apartheid will promote nation building. Our dignity as a nation was soiled by his action.

Attending the funeral was irresponsible. It sullies the memory of millions of Botha's victims. There can be no explanation, no excuse and no justification.

Samore Herbstein

Azapo spokesman

Gauteng

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