Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Different Faces of Kortbroek.

The following article from 2001 takes a revealing look at the checkered political track record & past of Marthinus van Schalkwyk who is currently being considered for the post in charge of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change. The report also notes that he received "secret state funding" for an "anti-establishment" youth group he led which was supposed to be "independent". Looks like he was on the government payroll long before entering formal politics.

The clumsy dance of Van Schalkwyk.

NP leader was never fussy about his partners


Marthinus van Schalkwyk, ruddy-cheeked and just 30 years old, bounded onto the political stage in August 1990 when he was nominated as the National Party's candidate for Randburg.

Those were heady times for the NP, with former President FW de Klerk having just unbanned the ANC and released Nelson Mandela.

Van Schalkwyk, enthused the NP's mouthpiece newspaper, Rapport, "was a prototype of the young enlightened Afrikaner who, in the second half of the eighties, stood outside the NP, although there was perhaps never an absolute break".

Van Schalkwyk had been chairman and a founding member of an organisation called "Jeugkrag" - Youth Power - which purported to be a home for Afrikaner youth disenchanted with the Establishment. Jeugkrag broke ranks with the NP and met the exiled ANC.

On being nominated as a candidate, Van Schalkwyk was keen to make it plain that he was a new breed of Nat. He boldly stated: "Suddenly the ANC is not only a political opponent, with the possibility of the two parties being even closer to each other."

But, as has often been the case with Van Schalkwyk, all was not as it seemed. It would later emerge that, while he was leading his supposedly independent youth movement, he was securing secret state funding for it. And, without the knowledge of fellow Jeugkrag leaders, he himself was on the government payroll.

In 1990, Van Schalkwyk was doing all he could to tie himself to De Klerk's apron strings.

He said of De Klerk's speech announcing the release of Mandela: "When I listened to that speech, I thought that these are the broad values with which I agree. Anyone in white politics who takes such risks needs all the support they can get."

By December 1993, Van Schalkwyk was firmly in the inner circle as the NP's director for information.

He was loyal to a fault - at least for the moment. As De Klerk's relationship with Mandela soured, so too did Van Schalkwyk's. When Mandela and De Klerk jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, Van Schalkwyk accused the former prisoner of "double talk". He went so far as to say that Mandela was an embarrassment to South Africa. [ He knows what he is talking about: he sees one in the mirror all the time. ]

But all of this principled enmity evaporated five years later, when Van Schalkwyk, now party leader, tried desperately to shake off his party's apartheid baggage by visiting Mandela's cell on Robben Island.

Asked if he would step into the cell for a photograph, Van Schalkwyk refused: "I have too much respect to go in there."

In 1994, Van Schalkwyk began to shift his political position once he took his seat in the new Parliament.

His arch-rival Roelf Meyer, who had led the NP in constitutional negotiations, was entrenched as the leader of the party's progressive wing. [ Wing? Must be a large wing. ]

In January 1995, Van Schalkwyk led the party's charge on crime and the death penalty.

The NP had formed a government of national unity with the ANC, and its more conservative members were beginning to sense that this had blunted their ability to oppose policies in public, giving the much smaller Democratic Party the space to assume the role of unofficial opposition.

By February 1997, Van Schalkwyk had all but reinvented himself as the darling of the party's conservative establishment.

In a palace coup, he took the position of secretary-general from Meyer, who was left with the nebulous task of "forming a new movement".

Van Schalkwyk played to the conservative gallery.

"Any talk that the NP is considering disbanding has no basis," he said. [ The man is a comic. ]

Meyer left the NP to form the United Democratic Movement with Bantu Holomisa.

In August 1997, De Klerk announced his retirement and Van Schalkwyk emerged as his most likely replacement.

His secret relationship with the state while he was Jeugkrag chairman also came to light.

His response was to say: "I am very proud of what we did. Those were not normal circumstances." [ Let us know when you find those "normal circumstances". ]

Having taken the leadership of the NP, Van Schalkwyk struggled to forge a convincing identity for the party.

The grey-shoed eminencies from the previous order who still littered the back benches were ill-suited to the aggressive opposition politics that was making the DP the new darling of white voters.

In October 1997, a new policy called "Agenda 21" was launched, but it was muffled and confused.

Crime became the party's main thrust, but the DP had long taken possession of the crime-fighting mantle and the NP sounded unconvincing.

As the election loomed, it became plain that the NP was in for a hiding. A Markinor poll suggested its support was at a record low of just 9%.

The party was hit by a plague of defections to the DP.

Van Schalkwyk's response was to shift the NP's direction once more. This time, it was just a jump to the left. [ To the left of the old left. See next line. ]

"The DP," he said in April 1999, "is becoming the new right-wing party." [ A right wing party? This guy is truly in the wrong profession - he really should have been a comic. ]

New NP colours and a new logo were unveiled. [ To match its leader's new colours & position. ]

But Van Schalkwyk had reinvented himself so many times that he had begun to lose the plot. Asked to pose in front of a bust of De Klerk in the NP headquarters, he declined.

In the 1999 election, the NP was toppled as official opposition and Van Schalkwyk now had to play second fiddle to the DP's Tony Leon.

Van Schalkwyk knew he was staring at political oblivion in the 2000 municipal elections.

It was time to shift principles once more and Van Schalkwyk, who had, just one month before, accused the DP of "dishonesty" and - believe it or not - lack of principle, formed the Democratic Alliance with Leon.

Barely a year later, it was time for Van Schalkwyk to shift again as his relationship with Leon hit rock-bottom over whether Cape Town Mayor Peter Marais should be fired.

This week, Van Schalkwyk is expected to tie up with the ANC, a party he blasted over the past year for "failing the poor" and for abandoning "principles like unity, equality and patriotism that have nothing to do with skin colour".

Van Schalkwyk has retained the ruddy cheeks he brought into politics in 1990. The same cannot be said for his political principles, which have been weathered by a decade of blowing in the wind.

5 Opinion(s):

Ron. said...

Make that TWO decades now.

Anonymous said...

This guy has a permanent brown ring on his collar from all the ass kissing he's done. I once saw him walking with his wife and kids in a shopping mall in Durbanville just after he sold out the NP and all the whites were totally ignoring him and giving him dirty looks. I think he got the message.

Exzanian said...

Ah, so that's where Julius has been picking up tips.

Anonymous said...

Ek kan nie die fokken goespigissie verdra nie, sy foto maak n mens sommer hardlywig.

Anonymous said...

The word "Dick head" comes to mind, when I think of him....