The world reacts to the death of FW De Klerk, former President of South Africa | News

South Africa’s last white president Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk’s death has provoked mixed reactions.

De Klerk, who negotiated the end of the white minority government and a peaceful transfer of power to a black-led government, died Thursday, aged 85, after a battle with cancer.

De Klerk won worldwide acclaim for his role in abolishing apartheid, and he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993. The following year, Mandela won South Africa’s first multi-racial election with his African National Congress (ANC).

But de Klerk’s role in the transition to democracy remains highly controversial almost 30 years after the end of apartheid.

Many black people were angry at his inability to stem political violence in the turbulent years leading up to the 1994 multiracial election, while right-wing white Africans who had long ruled the country under the Clerks’ National Party regarded him as a traitor. to their case of white supremacy.

Here are some of the early reactions to de Klerk’s death:

Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he and the government were saddened by de Klerk’s death.

De Klerk had played a “key role in heralding democracy” in the country, Ramaphosa said, expressing his condolences to the former president’s family.

Desmond Tutu

“May FW de Klerk rest in peace and rise in glory,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the struggle against the white minority regime and seen by many as South Africa’s moral conscience, in a brief statement issued by his office.

“The former president occupied a historic but difficult place in South Africa,” Tutu’s office added. “The late FW De Klerk played an important role in the history of South Africa,” it said.

“At a time when not all of his colleagues saw the country’s future trajectory unfold in the same way, he recognized the time for change and demonstrated his willingness to act on it.”

Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said de Klerk’s legacy was “uneven”.

“The Clerks’ legacy is great. It is also uneven, something South Africans are encouraged to expect at this moment, “it said in a statement.

“De Klerk will forever be associated with Nelson Mandela in annals of South Africa’s history. As head of state, he oversaw the release of Madiba from prison on February 11, 1990. In 1993, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for initiating a negotiated settlement. led to South Africa holding its first democratic elections in 1994, ”the statement added.

Micheal Martin

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a statement on Twitter that he was saddened by the news, expressing that de Klerk was “a man whose decisions at a key moment promoted South Africa’s journey from apartheid to democracy”.

John Steenhuisen

Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) John Steenhuisen, South Africa’s second largest party after the African National Congress (ANC), said de Klerk’s contribution to the country’s transition to democracy “cannot be overestimated”.

Steenhuisen said de Klerk’s success in bringing the majority of white voters with him over the need to abolish apartheid “played a crucial role in ensuring that the transition took place peacefully and that the 1994 election … was embraced by all South Africans” .

DA is the ANC’s biggest rival in national and local elections, but has struggled to lose its image as a party with white privileges.

Julius Malema

Julius Malema, the leader of the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the country’s third largest political party, said de Klerk should not be referred to as a “former president” but as a “former apartheid president”.

Shehu Sani

Nigerian senator and human rights activist Shehu Sani said de Klerk “will be remembered as the man who finally drew the curtain against apartheid.”

“He bowed to the will of the people and took a special place in moral and political history,” the statement added.

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell, who served as press chief for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said de Klerk was one who changed the “bow” of history in the same way as his successor, anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.

ActionSA Party

South Africa’s ActionSA party offered “condolences” to De Klerk’s friends and family. “De Klerk played an important role, regardless of motivation, in the liberation of former President Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid,” the party wrote on Twitter.

Pearl Thusi

South African actress Pearl Thusi suggested that the former president should not have a state funeral.

“If FW DE KLERK gets a state funeral … it will be a big middle finger for the people who suffered under the apartheid regime in this country,” she said in a tweet.

“We have to disrupt that funeral if it is declared a state funeral. There’s just no way.”

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