'Outrageous lie' - Maimane on De Klerk leadership lessons report

2016-01-29 10:11

Cape Town - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has labelled a Mail & Guardian report that FW de Klerk is giving him leadership lessons as ''an outrageous lie''.

''It's a blatant lie,'' Maimane told News24 on Friday.

He also 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.

Former party leader Helen Zille also hit out at the article, tweeting: “It is a total non-story. @MmusiMaimane has met Mbeki, Zuma, many foreign leaders. It's part of the job.”

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

''He [Maimane] has been to his [De Klerk's] house a few times and sought his advice on speeches and leadership and acting presidential. In the party they are known as 'leadership classes'," the paper said, quoting a "DA insider".

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

Detractors are accusing the party of harbouring racists and paying black supporters to attend rallies. Facebook posts and shares by a former member Penny Sparrow and MP Diane Kohler Barnard have thrown a curveball at its efforts to change perceptions that its supporters are white.

Others on Twitter asked what the fuss was about over Maimane meeting with De Klerk. Many tweeted pictures of former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki and current President Jacob Zuma meeting with apartheid-era leaders.

But others criticised Maimane, saying it was a political mistake to meet with De Klerk.

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