Afrikaner: President Zuma Reaches Out
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Sunday [10 May 2009] President Jacob Zuma had "reached out to Afrikaners" by appointing him as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
"President Jacob Zuma has in the recent past on various occasions reached out to the Afrikaner and other minorities," Mulder said after his appointment.
"President Zuma has now followed it up after the election by offering a deputy minister’s position to the FF Plus in continuation of his reaching out to the Afrikaner." Mulder said he had broadly engaged with Afrikaner cultural and Agricultural organisations about the issue and asked their advice about the offer.
"Their overwhelming and unanimous reaction was that the hand of cooperation which is being extended to us should not summarily be slapped away but should be seen as an opportunity," he said.
The FF Plus would make use of the opportunity by raising issues such as Afrikaans universities and education, name changes, affirmative action and poverty, self-determination, the status of the Afrikaner enclave Orania, and general minority rights.
The FF Plus saw the acceptance of the offer as a political experiment which held specific advantages for South Africa, Mulder said.
"For our supporters and for the agricultural community. The decision will however, from time to time, have to be re-evaluated on the hand of certain guidelines in order to ensure that the objectives of this are still being attained."
Mulder dismissed the idea of a coalition between his party and the ANC.
"There is no question about a coalition or any other similar agreements between the ANC and the FF Plus," he said.
"In talks about the issue, President Zuma agreed that the FF Plus retains its autonomy as a political party, as well as its critical role as opposition party in full."
Asked about Mulder’s appointment, Zuma said the ANC’s approach was to "cooperate with other political parties".
"Pieter Mulder is a South African who belongs to a particular political party.
"The approach of the ANC is how to cooperate with other political parties. I think this is good for the country," Zuma said.
However, in a statement later, FF Plus youth leader Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said Mulder had accepted the appointment without approval from the party.
"FF Plus members and the party’s federal council only became aware of this decision during President Zuma’s announcement on Sunday [10 May 2009] afternoon."
The FF Plus youth believed this was unacceptable and in contradiction to the party’s election manifesto.
"Dr Mulder cannot serve as both party leader and deputy minister in President Zuma’s Cabinet.
"Furthermore, the FF Plus will not enter a coalition with the ANC."
The matter would be discussed at the party’s federal council meeting on May 23 , Jansen van Rensburg said.