We ended apartheid, not De Klerk, says President Cyril Ramaphosa
Cape Town - Nelson Mandela was freed from prison as a result of the tireless liberation struggle and mounting pressure from abroad on the apartheid regime, not through the kindness of South Africa's last white leader FW de Klerk, president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of Mandela's release.
“Winnie Mandela kept Nelson Mandela’s name alive every day. She and many others kept fires of resistance burning in the breasts of the people of this country," Ramaphosa said.
“It was not an act of kindness of FW de Klerk... it was not because he was a kind-hearted man."
He was speaking from the same balcony at the Cape Town City Hall where Mandela addressed an adoring crowd after his release from 27 years in prison. Ramaphosa recalled that the atmosphere was electrifying as the world's most famous political prisoner spoke his first words as a free man.
Mandela used his address to deliver a message of racial integration and nation-building. He shared the Nobel peace prize with De Klerk in 1993 for working together to effect the political transition to democracy.
De Klerk will be in the public gallery when Ramaphosa delivers his fourth state of the nation address on Thursday.
The populist, left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters have threatened to disrupt his speech in the National Assembly and have objected to the presence of De Klerk.
Earlier this month, outgoing EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said it was not true that De Klerk had willingly released political prisoners.
“It is not him nor his government, but the selfless struggle by the masses, the youth in particular,” he said.
African News Agency (ANA)