Former president FW de Klerk must account for his actions during apartheid and give an apology live on TV, a very small group of protesters said outside his foundation’s Cape Town offices on Wednesday.
“[What we want is] for him to disclose what he has done, what instruction he has given in relation to killing and who was killed under his instruction,” activist Chumani Maxwele told journalists on behalf of the Black People’s National Crisis Committee.
“We don’t know anything in the archival history of SA as to what instructions were given by him… As African people, we want closure.”
Maxwele said De Klerk’s latest statement was an “empty apology”.
Maxwele and two other committee leaders pitched up at the Tygerberg Office Park in Plattekloof to meet with the foundation but were unsuccessful.
Other supporters had reportedly struggled to find transport from areas such as Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.
A few police and traffic police vans, as well as officers, stood at the boom gate while Maxwele tried to explain to a foundation representative that they had made an appointment.
“Give us the courtesy to go and sit down,” Maxwele pleaded.
The representative said she was not permitted to speak on behalf of the foundation but would take their details.
Maxwele committed to returning in a week’s time so they could have a civil sit-down meeting, share the pain of the people they represented and engage the foundation on the way forward.
In an interview before the State of the Nation address (Sona) last week, De Klerk said that apartheid could not be compared with genocide and that, while apartheid had led to the deaths of many people, more had died because of “black-on-black violence” than because of apartheid.
Before President Cyril Ramaphosa could utter a word at Sona on Thursday evening, EFF leader Julius Malema rose on a point of order, asking that De Klerk be removed from the National Assembly chamber’s public gallery. De Klerk was seated there with former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.
The foundation issued a statement the following day in which it labelled the notion that apartheid was a crime against humanity “soviet agitprop” – propaganda meant to agitate.
Following massive backlash, the foundation released another statement on Monday.
In it, De Klerk said he had taken note of the angry reaction to the statement, and withdrew the statement unconditionally and apologised for “the confusion, anger and hurt that it has caused”.
It also agreed with the International Criminal Court’s provision that apartheid was indeed a crime against humanity.