Former president FW de Klerk dedicated his presidency to the abolition of apartheid and should not be the victim of attacks on his character, the foundation named after him said today.
“To refer to him as ‘the last apartheid president’ is like calling Abraham Lincoln ‘the last slavery president of the United States,’” the foundation said in a statement.
“The role he played in initiating and facilitating South Africa’s transition to a non-racial democracy is a matter of historic fact and has been confirmed by no less an authority than former president Nelson Mandela,” the statement read.
The reaction by the foundation follows a backlash De Klerk received for his criticism of the current government leadership during the recent dialogue by the former country’s president which included former presidents – Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.
During the dialogue De Klerk said South Africa was “experiencing a constitutional crisis” which he blamed on President Jacob Zuma.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said De Klerk should not be part of the dialogue that seeks to find solutions to the country’s problems. He should, instead, be in jail.
“A man who presided over the murder of black people in the early 90s can never find solutions to the problems of South Africa,” Malema said.
However, the foundation has rebutted a claim that De Klerk was involved in gross human rights violations. It said such claims were baseless.
“Despite its diligent investigation of all the evidence before it, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was unable to link him with any such action,” the foundation said.
According to the foundation, the backlash against De Klerk were as a result of him speaking out against the violations of the Constitution by the government.
The foundation argued that divisive racial stereotypes could increasingly being propagated by radicals, and that there could be elements within the government who did not believe that that there could be others who could have possibly acted in good faith to seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems of South Africa.
“Finally, De Klerk, more than anyone else, is a reminder that our non-racial constitutional democracy was the co-creation of South Africans from all our communities, including the 69% of white South Africans who supported him in the referendum of March 1992.
“For many radicals, it is unacceptable that white South Africans also played an honourable role in the establishment of our new society,” the foundation said, adding it would oppose the “new racism ” which it argued had been propagated by Zuma and some radical elements within the government and other radical organisations.
However, the bulk of twitter users are not buying the Foundations attempted defence of its namesake.
One it seems we will have textbooks that denies that Whites colonized and subjected Natives to apartheid judging by FW de Klerk’s statement
— Thulani A Nzima (@AllenTTrading) May 19, 2017
De Klerk’s government was behind that “Inkatha vs ANC” war…yet he claims to have dedicated his presidency into freeing the US? Wow!
— Fu-Gly (@ThisIsMXO) May 19, 2017
De Klerk is believing his own PR. He knows the truth. We know the truth. He must not remind us, cause the wounds are still open.
— Milase Mzamo (@mnazania) May 19, 2017
FW De Klerk needs to respect us ???? https://t.co/6XkbdODP6r
— Gugulethu Mhlungu (@GugsM) May 19, 2017
— Benjamino (@BENTLEYLEVY) May 19, 2017
FW de Klerk served under PW Botha from 1978 to 1989.
He, who now tells us, he wasn’t an apartheid leader ????????
— Ottilia Anna M (@MaS1banda) May 19, 2017