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Tutu Foundation to De Klerk: Withdraw statement on apartheid

The former statesman’s foundation last week endorsed his view that apartheid could not be seen as a crime against humanity.

FILE: Frederik Willem de Klerk (FW de Klerk), the former president who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993, answers questions about his memories of Nelson Mandela, on 11 July 2017, in his office in Cape Town. De Klerk was the South African president who ordered Mandela's release from prison. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation on Sunday joined calls for former President FW de Klerk’s apartheid statement to be withdrawn.

The former statesman’s foundation last week endorsed his view that apartheid could not be seen as a crime against humanity. This after an interview with the SABC in which De Klerk apologised for apartheid, but said he does not believe it can be labelled a crime.

WATCH: FW de Klerk’s SABC interview

The FW de Klerk Foundation said the former president had repeatedly acknowledged the grave injustices committed under apartheid and had sincerely apologised on a number of occasions.

Zindzi Mandela hits out at De Klerk 'justification' for apartheid

Joining the calls for the statement to be withdrawn, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said in the 26th year of South Africa’s democracy, it was irresponsible for De Klerk’s foundation to debate the degree of awfulness of apartheid.

The Tutu Foundation wanted the statement withdrawn, saying it reversed the gains made since the abolishment of apartheid.

It further highlighted that those who suffered most under apartheid continued to suffer today.

“SA is on an economic precipice. It is beset by radical poverty and inequity. Those who suffered most under apartheid continue to suffer most today. It is incumbent on leaders and former leaders of the white community, in particular, to demonstrate the courage, magnanimity and compassion necessary to contribute to societal healing ...

“The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation agrees with the SA Council of Churches that the FW De Klerk Foundation should withdraw its statement,” the foundation said through the statement.