Durban - In a new twist regarding the claims by former apartheid leader FW De Klerk that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, former President Thabo Mbeki says the last Apartheid president was not aware that the system was declared a crime by the UN.
Speaking briefly to the media in Durban on Sunday after addressing a political school of the ANC in KZN, Mbeki said when the uproar erupted in Parliament on Thursday evening, he asked De Klerk about the utterances, as he was sitting near De Klerk.
According to Mbeki, De Klerk “actually did not know” that the UN declared the system as such in 1973. He said when the EFF made a noise about his denial, he asked him about the remarks because they were sitting in the same VIP section of guests of the President.
Thabo Mbeki says De Klerk claimed he was not aware that apartheid was declared a crime against humanity. Video: Sihle Mavuso
Mbeki said he observed that De Klerk was making a “narrow comment” and their discussion was ended. He added that he was working on enlightening De Klerk by sending him the UN document which contains all the relevant information about the matter.
Despite the backlash, the FW De Klerk Foundation also insisted that the system was not a crime against humanity. In a statement issued on Friday, just a day after the uproar in Parliament, the foundation said the claim was Soviet propaganda.
“But was apartheid a crime against humanity? First we have to look at the origins of the charge: In November 1966 the UN General Assembly declared apartheid to be a crime against humanity - and in 1973 it adopted the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
"Both the Resolution and the Convention were political initiatives of the Soviet Union - which had itself committed atrocious crimes against humanity that involved the killing of millions of people,” the foundation said.