Apartheid Families Slams de Klerk


Press Release: 05 July 2021

The Apartheid Victim Families Group (AFVG) notes the characteristic statement issued by the FW De Klerk Foundation in response to the recent joint announcement by the NPA and the Hawks of a renewed plan to expand their capacity in order to deal with outstanding cases of Apartheid atrocities. In this statement, the De Klerk Foundation claims that “amnesty was, from the outset, a sine qua non for the negotiations between the ANC and the National Party (NP) government.” The statement further bemoans the failure of the NP’s negotiators to conclude “a comprehensive amnesty agreement before the 1994 elections.” 

The statement concluded thus: However, the final paragraphs of the 1993 Constitution stated peremptorily that “amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past” (emphasis added).

Mr. De Klerk, is of course, alive and is listed as a patron of his foundation, thus it is safe to assume that the statement represents his own personal sentiment.

That said, it appears from this statement that Mr De Klerk is at it again – having yet another take at Apartheid denialism. He has returned too frequently to this theme for the world to continue to harbour the belief that he is either worthy of a national award or international peace prize, least of all the Order of Mapungubwe and the Nobel Peace Prize. 

It is regrettable that the ANC led us down the treacherous path of glossing over the differential in the moral fundamentals of apartheid and resistance. It was a horrible ahistorical move. This is perhaps the reason Mr De Klerk has been emboldened to revise history by arguing that Apartheid was not a crime against humanity. When reminded of history by former President Mbeki, he then turned to an alternative defence that he had forgotten about the existence of definite UN resolution. In this case he is either arguing against any form of accountability for apartheid atrocities or seems to have once more forgotten how the amnesty matter was resolved.

The AFVG would like to remind Mr De Klerk of the following inconvenient truth. The ANC’s political faux pas notwithstanding, his own statement concedes that the NP failed to negotiate a blanket amnesty. Second, there is nowhere in the South African Constitution which was adopted in 1996, where there is promise of a perpetual free pass to perpetrators of crimes of the past who were not granted amnesty by the TRC. This is entitlement of the superlative order. Mr De Klerk knows fully well that the specific arrangement by which the nation agreed to give effect to the question of amnesty was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He appeared before it for this very reason in order to secure his freedom, and that of others, only to the extent of disclosures and warranties he placed before the commission. 

In this regard, he and any other applicants had to meet three minimum requirement – (1) full and truthful disclosure, (2) a political motive and (3) the test of proportionality. These were the rules the TRC used to determine the award of amnesty. What seeks to be a glaring omission in the De Klerk statement is that the TRC had a deadline for applications before it and that this deadline has passed. Furthermore, the TRC had made recommendations on what must be done with cases for which amnesty was declined or when no application was made. As such, the rules of the TRC do not provide cover for any perpetrators who, like Rodrigues, elected NOT to apply for amnesty. At the end of its tenure the TRC issued specific recommendations including, inter alia, the more than 300 cases that were to have been prosecuted by now. Having been delayed, their time for their adjudication has come. 

Instead of accepting the court judgments in the Rodrigues matter (Full Bench and SCA), as well as the NPA’s actions, once more De Klerk enters the fray with a kinked sense of justice. Fortunately, for the victims of Apartheid while Mr De Klerk’s moral compass may be malfunctioning, the AVFG are comforted that the judiciary has finally recalibrated the way forward for the investigative and prosecutorial institutions.

“A luta continua; vitória é certa”, “The struggle continues; victory is certain”

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