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Former president FW De Klerk trends as Mzansi weighs in on American speech withdrawal

22 June 2020 - 09:32 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former president FW de Klerk will not address the American Bar Association.
Former president FW de Klerk will not address the American Bar Association.
Image: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht

The decision to cancel an address on human rights to the American Bar Association (ABA) by former president FW De Klerk  has been met with mixed responses from some South Africans. 

The former president was expected to deliver a virtual talk on minority rights, racism and the rule of law, on July 1. 

TimesLIVE reported that some South African opposition parties decried the ABA’s invitation to De Klerk.

De Klerk’s foundation said his legacy must not be tainted by claims that he is on the wrong side of history, but agreed that including him in the programme, would have been controversial considering “the current super-heated racial climate”.

His participation was further criticised by Lukhanyo Calata, son of apartheid activist, Fort Calata. His father was killed by police along with three other activists in 1985. He said the ABA "erred" in inviting De Klerk at the height of Black Lives Matter protests. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters commended the ABA for “rejecting” De Klerk.

“The Economic Freedom Fighters commends American Association Bar for decisively rejecting FW De Klerk. The association has shown courage and political conscience that has escaped the former liberation movement in SA.”

The party said De Klerk represented the opposite of the values he was invited to speak about.

These are some of the views shared on social media: