Four Days Of Mourning,No State Funeral For South Africa’s FW De Klerk

News World

South African Head of State Cyril Ramaphosa has declared four-day national mourning for FW de Klerk, who was the country’s last president before the end of apartheid.

He will, however, not be granted a state funeral.

During the mourning period, the South African flag will fly at half-mast.

De Klerk, who succumbed to cancer on November 11, aged 85, was president of apartheid South Africa between 1989 and 1994 and later vice president of an independent South Africa from 1994 to 1996.

His family will hold a private funeral ceremony on November 21 in Cape Town. He will be cremated thereafter.

According to the FW de Klerk Foundation, the funeral “will not be open to the media.”

While de Klerk will not have a state funeral, the government is planning a state memorial service.

“President Ramaphosa has directed that the National Flag be flown at half-mast from sunset, Wednesday, 17 November, until the evening of Sunday, 21 November,” the Presidency announced.

“Government will at a future date host a State Memorial Service in remembrance of the former Deputy President. The 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.”

Earlier, opposition political parties said that if de Klerk was granted a state funeral they would disrupt the event.

Julius Malema, the leader of opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, welcomed President Ramaphosa’s decision not to hold a state funeral. He, however, mocked the President over his relationship with de Klerk.

“[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.

“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.”

Mr de Klerk’s death has divided South Africans due to his contrasting legacy of being seen as initially championing apartheid and later being a key figure in the fight to abolish it.

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