The NFDI says it is in talks with the FW de Klerk Foundation over its statement denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity.  Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency
The NFDI says it is in talks with the FW de Klerk Foundation over its statement denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

NFDI in talks with FW de Klerk Foundation over apartheid comments

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Feb 19, 2020

Share this article:

Durban - The National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI) says it is in talks with the FW de Klerk Foundation over its statement denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity. 

The grouping said it is both surprised and disappointed by the Foundation which drew ire of the nation when it denied that apartheid was a crime against humanity. 

The chairperson of the initiative, Nomhle Canca said their discussions include the remarks by the Foundation and by De Klerk himself. The initiative represents several foundations named after stalwarts and pursue a common reconciliation goal.

“The NFDI has been both surprised and disappointed regarding the events that had taken place over the past few days. Our discussions with the De Klerk Foundation are not yet concluded and the position of the De Klerk Foundation has been fluid; perhaps, as a result of their current engagements. The NFDI would like to give these discussions time to come to their logical conclusion and as such will not make any statements prior to the finalisation of its internal dialogue,” Canca said.  

There are growing calls by some members of the initiative, like the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, calling for the review of the membership of the Foundation. The Foundation and De Klerk retracted their denial on Monday.  

With the debate over De Klerk’s comment on apartheid not going away, president Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)  Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi  said  on Tuesday  the truth is that De Klerk made a major contribution to the dismantling of apartheid. 

However, the tragedy is that he demolished that entire contribution by denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity, said Buthelezi.

“His denial opened a wound that remains in the heart(s) of millions of South Africans. Yet when he was challenged on it, he did not apologise. Instead, he dug in his heels and presented a statement through the De Klerk Foundation dismissing the legitimacy of the United Nations’ Convention which classified apartheid as a crime against humanity,” Buthelezi said. 

Buthelezi added that in the midst of a public outcry and the retraction of the statement, South Africans are now debating whether his apology was sufficient or genuine, and whether or not it should be accepted.

“The second is to look at the hurt and anger itself, to ask why this wound is still there, and to find a way to heal it. We have a chance at this juncture to heal our nation and to create genuine reconciliation. It will not come by making effigies to burn in the public square. It will come by confronting the truth in all its complexity.”

Adding his voice on the matter, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Melisizwe Mandela of Vukani Community Development, said on top of losing the Nobel Peace Prize as called for by several parties including the EFF, he must also lose his perks as former president. 

“The ANC must not only stop inviting De Klerk to public gatherings, it must also use the state it controls to stop the monthly salary he is getting as he was not a democratically elected president. It must also rename the road that is named after him in Cape Town,” Mandela said.

As a former president, De Klerk is paid well over R3 million a year, he gets medical care and security from the state. He also keeps a small staff in his private office. 

Political Bureau

Share this article:

Related Articles