In his last words, De Klerk still didn't call apartheid a crime against humanity
In his final words, recorded on a video and shared by his foundation, De Klerk describes apartheid as indignifying and painful. But he still doesn't concede that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
CAPE TOWN - In 2020, the last president of the murderous apartheid regime, FW De Klerk, refused to admit that apartheid was a crime against humanity. On his death day, he didn't back track on the matter, even though he apologised for the "pain" that apartheid, or what he called in the video "separate development".
In February last year, he told the SABC that he was "not fully agreeing" with the presenter who asked him to confirm that apartheid was a crime against humanity. He added that while he was sorry for the crime, he felt there weren't enough deaths to qualify it as a crime against humanity. He did not give a number of how many deaths would qualify it a genocide either.
In his final words, recorded on a video and shared by his foundation on the day of his death, De Klerk described apartheid as undignified and painful. But he still didn't concede that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
WATCH: In his final words, De Klerk still didn't call apartheid a crime against humanity
He said in the video: "I am still often accused by critics that I, in some way or another, continue to justify apartheid, or separate development as we later called it.
"It is true that in my younger years, I defended 'separate development' as I never liked the word 'apartheid'. I did so when I was a Member of Parliament and I did so as I became a member of Cabinet.
"Afterwards, on many occasions, I apologised for the pain and indignity that apartheid has brought to persons of colour in South Africa. Many believed me but others didn't."
In his final statement, De Klerk didn't mention anything about the thousands of apartheid-era murders and trauma the country might never hear about, nor his his role in the killings and violence of the early 1990s. He did say, however, that he "converted" his beliefs about apartheid in the early 1980s. Son of one of the Cradock Four who were assassinated in 1985, Fort Calata, told Eyewitness News he has been searching in vain for information about his father Fort Calata's death.
"It is sad that yet another apartheid criminal died without having accounted for the crimes he helped to perpetrate against our humanity. De Klerk takes to the grave information about our fathers that we needed. He takes to the grave information about deals that were entered into between former apartheid operatives and ANC leaders who have betrayed us by entering into these agreements and those agreements have subsequently prevented the prosecution of these apartheid criminals."
De Klerk was the president in charge of apartheid South African when the country's first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. De Klerk died at his Cape Town home after his struggle against cancer.