Statement from Brett Herron, Secretary-General of the GOOD Party

The FW De Klerk Foundation’s statement this week that the NPA stopped prosecuting apartheid-era crimes due to “an informal agreement between the ANC leadership and former operatives of the pre-1994 government” confirms one of South Africa’s most disgraceful secrets.

It confirms the existence of a dirty deal between the ANC and the country’s former apartheid masters that:
• Betrayed natural justice;
• Deceived the families and friends of some of South Africa’s most celebrated anti-apartheid activists killed by apartheid security forces; and
• Destroyed the integrity of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which
recommended further investigations and prosecutions and, with it, the hope of the nation continuing a meaningful reconciliation journey.

It further confirms that the NPA was captured long before the term “state capture” rose to the prominence it has, and that the ANC had accomplices in the genesis of our current capture pandemic – the party of apartheid led by De Klerk.

The NPA was captured, according to the De Klerk Foundation, following a secret political deal between the NP and the ANC at the time.

While the new ANC government had state power from 1994 that power did not include deciding who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t.

That the De Klerk Foundation brazenly hosted its 28th annual anniversary event, in 2018, under the theme, “State Capture and Corruption”, when De Klerk was himself party to engineering state capture, is indicative of a fundamental disregard for truth or integrity.

One has to ask: Who and what are being protected?

After being pushed into a political and legal corner by the quest for justice of a nephew of murdered anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol in 2017, the NPA has increasingly made noises about re-looking at the closed cases.

This week’s missive from the De Klerk Foundation – styled as an opinion piece, without an author – is in fact a thinly-veiled threat to the NPA to stay in its lane or the ANC will face the consequences.

The De Klerk Foundation draws on a false moral and political equivalence between those who supported apartheid and those who opposed it. According to this narrative, they simply harboured ideological differences.

In this worldview, the work of apartheid’s torturers and killers, and those who used violence as a strategy to oppose apartheid injustice, was equivalent, too.

There is no equivalence. Apartheid was a repressive policy deemed a crime against humanity by no less than the United Nations. Opposing apartheid was an honourable act.

In terms of the legislation that created the TRC, perpetrators of human rights violations were given the opportunity to apply to the TRC for amnesty in exchange for telling the truth about their activities. It was, by design, a carrot and stick approach.

Those who didn’t feel like applying for amnesty, or who did apply but were found undeserving, would take their chances with the criminal justice system.

For the De Klerk Foundation to complain now, in 2021, that amnesty conditions set by the 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act “were far more onerous than those that the ANC had insisted on with regard to the release of its own supporters in terms of the Further Indemnity Act of 1992”, is ridiculous.

The real amnesty process is long closed. What the De Klerk Foundation really wants is for the terms of its informal amnesty deal with the ANC to be upheld by the NPA.

Instead of supporting such corrupt deals, the De Klerk Foundation should reveal the terms of its agreement with the ANC. It should also accept its complicity in fostering a culture of criminal impunity in South Africa.

If it had integrity, it would reveal compromising information it may have to the NPA rather than use the information to hold South Africa’s future hostage.

Injustice that is not addressed doesn’t go away. It reverberates. Apartheid killers may all be dead by the time the NPA calls their number – if it ever does – but the unhealed rifts in the fabric of our society will remain.

The NPA must do its work without fear or favour to the ruling ANC or its apartheid predecessors.