Former deputy president FW de Klerk, arrives for the President Cyril inauguration at Loftus Versfeld stadium. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News agency(ANA)
Former deputy president FW de Klerk, arrives for the President Cyril inauguration at Loftus Versfeld stadium. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News agency(ANA)

FW de Klerk played vital role in transition to democracy - Ramaphosa

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Nov 11, 2021

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Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late FW de Klerk, saying he played a vital role in South Africa’s transition to democracy.

De Klerk – who served as former deputy president under Nelson Mandela’s one term presidency and who was the last Apartheid president – died on Thursday morning following a long battle with cancer.

Ramaphosa conveyed his condolences to De Klerk’s wife, Elita, his children Jan and Susan, and his grandchildren.

“My thoughts are also with Mr De Klerk’s friends and associates and the management and staff of the FW de Klerk Foundation.

“The then State President De Klerk played a vital role in our transition to democracy in the 1990s, which originated from his first meeting in 1989 with President Nelson Mandela who was a political prisoner at that stage.

“He took the courageous decision to unban political parties, release political prisoners and enter into negotiations with the liberation movement amid severe pressure to the contrary from many in his political constituency,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that De Klerk was a committed South African who embraced the democratic constitutional dispensation and placed the long-term future of the country ahead of narrow political interests.

During his tenure as deputy president from 1994 to 1996, Ramaphosa said De Klerk played an important role in the Government of National Unity as he dedicated himself to the constitutional imperative of healing the divisions and conflict of the country’s past.

“Deputy President De Klerk’s passing, weeks before the 25th anniversary of our democratic Constitution, should inspire all of us to reflect on the birth of our democracy and on our shared duty to remain true to the values of our Constitution.

“May his soul rest in peace,” Ramaphosa said.

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POLITICAL BUREAU

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