statement by Media and Marketing Director

The UDM is disturbed by the irresponsible manner in which political parties are dealing with the court appearance of Mr PW Botha on Friday.

The ANC’s planned protest action outside the courtroom and the call by rightwing political parties and groupings for supporters of Mr Botha to mobilise can only be described as polarising. We have also witnessed during the past week that the NP together with the Freedom Front and the Conservative Party have made themselves guilty of irresponsible and inflammatory remarks. Political parties, especially, need to be sensitive when dealing with and commenting on issues that can be a threat to our fragile democracy.

Support for Mr Botha has been coming from some very strange corners. People, who previously would not have granted him the light of day, are now his most loyal supporters. The UDM calls on South Africans to realise this for what it is, and not to let them get drawn in this game of political opportunism. Political parties and the media must handle the court case in a responsible manner. We cannot allow emotions to run wild.

The law must now take its course. Let us not forget what the TRC is all about and let us embrace that spirit of reconciliation in our actions, also in attending the court case. Political parties will have to take full responsibility for the actions of their supporters. The UDM will monitor the proceedings carefully.