Activists force FW De Klerk off US discussion
Johannesburg - South African and American activists have managed to stop former apartheid president FW de Klerk from addressing a US gathering.
De Klerk, who was the country's president between 1989 and 1994 and briefly served as deputy president in the government of national unity under former President Nelson Mandela, was invited to participate in one of a series of interviews that Jonathan Granoff, the President of the Global Security Institute, is conducting with the American Bar Association (ABA).
The conversation was to be about “rule of law, constitutional democracy, minority rights, social change, racism and global security".
Activists, however, learnt of the invite and raised objections.
Among those who objected was Lukhanyo Calata, a journalist who is the son of former freedom fighter Fort Calata of the Cradock Four, who were assassinated in 1985.
Others who reportedly objected included advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who was a commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Calata said he was over the moon that ABA listened to the volley of objections.
“We are of course ecstatic that we were able to influence the decision of the association. We hope also that other organisations around the world will follow the example of the ABA and reconsider their decisions to have De Klerk address them on issues about rule of law and constitutionalism,” he said.
Calata added that De Klerk has a case to answer for his alleged role in the crimes of the apartheid government.
“It is critical that De Klerk and all other apartheid criminals are hauled to court soonest to be held accountable.
"The ANC government's failure to hold them accountable has emboldened them to a point where they even denied that apartheid was a crime,” he said.
The FW de Klerk Foundation said allegations that he had played a role in apartheid crimes were baseless.
“These activists have once again made outrageous and unfounded allegations against Mr De Klerk. The role that FW de Klerk played in initiating and co-directing South Africa's transition to non-racial democracy is a matter of historic fact - and was confirmed by Nelson Mandela,” the statement read.
Additionally, it said the leader, who was in February forced to retract statements that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, never violated any human rights while he was in power.