Maimane ''leadership lessons'' nonsense - De Klerk

2016-02-02 15:21

Cape Town - FW de Klerk has rejected a report that he was giving DA leader Mmusi Maimane leadership lessons.

''It is absolute nonsense,'' the former president said on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a conference to mark 26 years since his historic speech to Parliament in which he said profound changes were coming for the apartheid state.

De Klerk said he was delivering a speech on behalf of the FW de Klerk Foundation when the Mail & Guardian asked for comment for a story it was working on.

The foundation was told a reporter wanted to talk to him about a story regarding the DA, but the publication was not specific about what it wanted to know.

The foundation was told the deadline was 14:30 and that they would send questions by e-mail. The e-mail never arrived, he said.

''I really think the journalist overstepped the mark of journalistic standards,'' he said.

Maimane told News24 on Friday that the report, published in this week’s edition of the paper, was a ''blatant lie''.

He tweeted: ''M&G story utter nonsense. As Leader of the Opposition, I meet former Leaders & State Presidents as a matter of course.

''I met with former president de Klerk once back in 2014. Just like I recently met with former president [Thabo] Mbeki. It's a non-story,'' he said.

According to the Mail & Guardian article titled ''Educating Mmusi: Is FW tutoring him?'' four senior Democratic Alliance insiders confirmed to the publication that Maimane visited De Klerk on "various occasions".

Maimane had been to De Klerk's house a few times and sought his advice on speeches, leadership, and acting presidential. They were known as “leadership classes”, the paper said, quoting an unnamed "DA insider".

It quoted an unnamed constituency leader as saying Maimane was the ''new guy on the block'' and that there was nothing wrong with it, since De Klerk took the bold step of releasing former president Nelson Mandela from prison. There was reportedly concern about the potential stigma though.

The publication said it stood by its story.

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