Johannesburg - South Africa's last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, on Friday accused President Jacob Zuma of using apartheid to cover his own government's failure to tackle joblessness and poor education.
“Attempts to blame these failures on 'apartheid' will simply divert government and public attention from the urgent need to implement the kind of realistic solutions” needed to address spiralling social and economic woes, he said.
Wading into a fierce debate about the legacy in the country of enforced racial segregation under white minority rule, De Klerk also warned that such statements only rekindle unnecessary racial acrimony.
“They also serve intentionally or unintentionally to stir up racial animosities that we simply cannot afford,” the 77-year old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said in a statement.
Zuma on Wednesday rejected a cabinet minister's suggestion that the government could no longer use apartheid as an excuse for poor public service.