De Klerk's Rhodes comments 'are balanced'

The former president’s foundation has reiterated its support for him, saying his views are balanced.

Former South African president FW de Klerk. Picture: FW de Klerk Foundation Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Amid growing criticism over FW De Klerk's comments to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University, his foundation has reiterated its support for the former president, saying his views are balanced.

Last week, De Klerk called the movement a folly and said the students calling for the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue from Oriel College are benefiting from his contribution to the institution.

The movement has gained momentum in the UK with more than 23,000 people signing a petition, demanding the removal the statue.

The foundation's Dave Steward says the criticism is a move to try and ignore the contribution made by white people to South African history.

"Well, they want to get rid of what is offensive and they want to get rid of white heritage. Sorry, we're not going to do that. We've made a great contribution to the history of South Africa and we're not simply going to bow off at this stage of history because of the fulminations of people who are not very mature."

Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford published this 'open letter' on its Facebook page.