Proof of apartheid crime is now in FW de Klerk’s hands

23 February 2020 - 00:00 By GRAEME HOSKEN
Former President Mbeki undertook to send to De Klerk the UN Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
Former President Mbeki undertook to send to De Klerk the UN Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES

Former president Thabo Mbeki has delivered on his promise to educate ex-president FW de Klerk on how apartheid was classified internationally as a crime against humanity.

At last week’s state of the nation address, Mbeki questioned De Klerk over an earlier statement he had made that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.

De Klerk’s comments, which he made in an SABC TV interview, have sparked nationwide condemnation, with the EFF demanding he be booted out of parliament when he attended the address. De Klerk has since withdrawn his comments and apologised.

On Sunday, Mbeki undertook to send to De Klerk the UN Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. De Klerk had said he did not know about the convention.

“He [De Klerk] said he was asked a question and said apartheid was reprehensible and apologised for the bad things had happened, but he [De Klerk] was making a very narrow comment,” said Mbeki.

Mbeki’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Gebe, told the Sunday Times that Mbeki had sent a copy of the UN convention to De Klerk on Tuesday.

On the interaction between the two former presidents at the state of the nation address,  Gebe said it was not a discussion.

“De Klerk responded to a question President Mbeki posed to him about this matter, since Mbeki had not watched De Klerk’s interview. That’s where it ended.”

FW de Klerk Foundation spokesperson Dave Steward confirmed that Mbeki’s correspondence had been received.

“It has not yet been responded to. We do not comment on his private correspondence,” said Steward.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, responding on Thursday in the National Assembly to the debate on his address, said that denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity was, in his mind, treasonous.

“It cannot be denied that apartheid was inherently a crime against humanity.”

He said the divisive system was so devastating that South Africans were still affected to this day.

Meanwhile, Dali Mpofu, national secretary of the EFF, asked South Africans on social media to join a “non-partisan” citizens campaign in which the Nobel Foundation would be approached to consider its request that De Klerk be stripped of his Nobel peace prize. He shared the prize with former president Nelson Mandela.  


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