Under fire, South Africa’s former president F.W. de Klerk repudiates apartheid

Under fire, South Africa’s former president repudiates apartheid

By Samuel Burke, CNN

(CNN) — Under fire for his comments on apartheid, former South African President F.W. de Klerk clarified his position again Wednesday, saying that he repudiates the system of racial segregation as unacceptable.

De Klerk called apartheid “morally unjustifiable” and “that it could not be reformed, that the concept of separate development had led to manifest injustice and had to be abandoned.”

“I have no residual belief in, or attachment to, separate development,” de Klerk said in a statement.

Many South Africans say they have waited for their former president, who helped dismantle apartheid and give rise to Nelson Mandela’s presidency, to renounce the brutal period of their nation’s history.

CNN offered that opportunity to de Klerk last week.

In the original CNN interview, de Klerk would not back off his belief in the validity of the concept of “separate but equal” nation states.

“I’m offering you the opportunity as the person who helped dismantle apartheid to say whether or not you believed that it was also morally repugnant, today, in retrospect,” Amanpour said.

De Klerk repudiated the effects of apartheid, but not the concept.

Legacy left in post-apartheid S. Africa “I can only say that in a qualified way,” de Klerk said. “In as much as it trampled human rights, it was — and remains, and that I’ve said also publicly — morally indefensible. There were many aspects which are morally indefensible.”

De Klerk: S. Africa democracy in danger The qualified statement drew criticism on Twitter and in South African and international media.



Video: Former South African President F.W. de Klerk on CNN with Amanpour May 10, 2012)


Video: South Africa State of Emergency 1980’s

Pieter Willem Botha (prime minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive state president from 1984 to 1989).

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