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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Further Notes

     On the 23rd March FW De Klerk said that he was threatening to sue two ANC deputy ministers for their remarks about his possible knowledge of hit squad murders. De Klerk also launched a scathing attack on the TRC saying its composition was skewed to favour one side in apartheid era conflicts. He said unless it took rapid steps to convince all parties of its impartiality it would not succeed in its historic path. One-sided truth, he said, is no truth at all. Former soldiers are demanding the immediate disbanding of the commission, claiming its activities are questionable and a witch-hunt. The TRC has summoned twelve military Generals and senior staff officers to appear but not a single MK or APLA member has been called to account for past actions, said CO de Jager, chairman of the committee which called the meeting of the former soldiers.

     Further, De Klerk said that an analysis of statements and speeches by some leading TRC members indicated they tended to view the conflict of the past from the broad perspective of the ANC and its allies and it was increasingly becoming involved in the party political process.  He said, "Its investigations have been targeted almost exclusively against those associated with the former government and its behaviour at times appears to be increasingly aggressive. At the same time comparatively little is said, written or reported about the abuses perpetrated by those who were opposed to the government. Millions of NP supporters who had voted for reform policies were beginning to feel victimised and alienated and the absence of any significant representation of the former government on the TRC was questionable."

     He said in a submission to the TRC, a second submission on the part of the National Party, that apartheid could not be compared with the Nazi holocaust, the rule of Russian dictator Josef Stalin, China's Great Leap Forward or the recent genocide in Rwanda. In his party's second submission delivered in writing to the TRC yesterday (that's on 23rd March 1997) De Klerk said, "Without wishing to detract from the humiliation or hardship and disruption caused by apartheid policies they are not in any way comparable with these situations. The international convention that had purported to declare apartheid to be a crime against humanity had been little more than a mobilisation exercise by the ANC and 'its totalitarian and third world supporters in the UN General Assembly'. It was never adopted or approved by the Security Council as you incorrectly state." The submission states, "It was also significant that few genuine democracies ever supported the convention." "On the other hand," De Klerk went on, "many states including the Soviet Union, its satellites and the People's Republic of China that themselves were guilty of the most horrendous crimes against humanity were signatories. Victims of crimes against humanity did not generally achieve sustained population growth of more than 3%, nor did their social and socio-economic statistics improve across the board as was the case under NP rule", the statement said.

     De Klerk noted that according to media reports elements within the ANC were now insisting that there could be no reconciliation unless those involved on the side of the former government first acknowledged that apartheid was a crime against humanity. "This is accompanied by increasingly strident calls for the prosecution of people involved in the conflict of the past on the government side. This approach is completely at odds with the requirement for reconciliation, even-handedness and amnesty set out in the transitional constitution. It is a sure recipe for the rekindling of inter-racial animosity."

     De Klerk again stressed he had apologised several times before, "For the pain caused by the former policies of the NP." His own presidency had been dedicated primarily to continuing the abolition of apartheid and the democratic transformation of South Africa. On the TRC's question of whether the struggle to defend apartheid could be equated with the struggle against it the statement states, "It could be argued that in putting this question you are betraying your prejudice and a simplistic approach to your mandate."

     In another submission to the TRC released to the media yesterday De Klerk said he was involved in the legally required authorisation of cross-border actions aimed at legitimate targets. He said such authorisation specifically excluded attacks on civilians and limited the use of violence to the "minimum required under the prevailing circumstances."

     Quoted from The Star on Monday March 24th 1997.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.