ANC slams FW de Klerk Foundation over ‘ill-advised’ statement on apartheid
The foundation has released a statement in which it reiterates the former president's statement that he does not agree that apartheid was a crime, during an interview.
JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the statement by the FW de Klerk Foundation which, reiterates his denial that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
This comes after de Klerk’s presence at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday caused a stir in the Parliamentary chambers and around the country – just days after an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) where de Klerk said, while he apologises for apartheid, he does not believe it can be labelled a crime.
WATCH | Prior to their walkout at #SONA2020 the EFF made reference to an SABC News interview with the last apartheid president, FW De Klerk denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity. FULL INTERVIEW > https://t.co/Kwhd7YG60N pic.twitter.com/VZBssG3ve4— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) February 13, 2020
Social media users debated the former leader’s role in the regime which oppressed black South Africans and oversaw the killings of thousands – including prominent political figures such as Solomon Mahlangu, the Cradock Four, Onkgopotse Tiro, and Steve Biko, among many others.
De Klerk said in an interview apartheid was not crime against humanity, yet at the TRC we were told to reconcile, forgive and forget. What were we forgiving if Apartheid was not a crime? De Klerk showed us a middle finger and doesn't regret Apartheid. Let us not forget that!— Morena (@SiyaNyulu) February 14, 2020
The party said, “Indeed, apartheid was a brutal system of oppression and underdevelopment, and the United Nations in 1973 correctly declared it a crime against humanity, defined as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”
The party further describes the statement as ‘ill-advised’.
“We shall not be derailed from the project of continuing to rebuild our nation from the ashes of apartheid, and its legacies of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” the statement read.
The ANC says the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a show of the willingness of the South Africans to forgive their former oppressors and should not be misinterpreted as a license for the foundation to insult.
“It should be remembered, as President Ramaphosa noted at the 30th commemoration since President Mandela’s release from prison, that FW de Klerk did not release President Mandela out of the kindness of his heart; “’but because of the pressure and the struggles that the people of our country waged’.”
Earlier this week, Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi said she was heartbroken by De Klerk's‘ justification’ of apartheid.
Mandela tweeted that she was heartbroken about what happened to her mother and many others under FW de Klerk’s watch during apartheid.
As a loyal and dedicated member of @MYANC I am heartbroken💔this happened to my Mother and many others under De Klerk's watch. According to his interview, he justified this, therefore saying that that my Mother and others deserved this aggression. What do we stand for? pic.twitter.com/wN0dPorOQ2— Zindzi Mandela (@ZindziMandela) February 13, 2020
On Thursday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) delayed proceedings at the Sona by objecting to De Klerk’s presence as one of the President’s guests.
In an interview after walking of Parliament, the EFF’s Julius Malema said: “For him to come and show us the middle finger and say to us that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, means this person has got no regret. It means he does not deserve a place at a democratic and democratic Parliament. Our actions yesterday were provoked by him saying apartheid was not a crime.”
WATCH: EFF Sona walkout, objects to De Klerk's presence