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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.

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Everywhere people are on the move.

One of the inescapable implications of globalisation is an enormous increase in the interaction between people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions.   The management of the resulting cultural, language and religious diversity will be one of this century’s greatest challenges.

Throughout the world populations are becoming more cosmopolitan: the world’s 200 countries now include more than 6 000 different cultural communities. More than 130 countries have cultural minorities comprising more than 10% of their populations.

As you in Europe know all too well cultural diversity is being augmented by new waves of migrants seeking economic opportunities and freedom. Everywhere people are on the move - and everywhere they are confronting once homogenous societies with new challenges.


In a speech on 24 March in Cernobbio, Italy, FW de Klerk said that during the past 24 years South Africa had unfortunately been moving further and further away from the ideal of cultural, religious and language diversity. He called on the international community to do much more to define and protect the rights of cultural, ethnic and religious minorities throughout the world.

De Klerk was addressing the International Forum on Market Leaders and Scenarios for the 21st Century on “The Accommodation of Cultural, Religious and Ethnic Diversity: A Core Challenge for the South Africa, for Europe and for the World.”

He said that South Africa had plenty of experience in managing - and mismanaging - diversity. 

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The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes today’s announcement by the current (albeit it embattled) head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Adv Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud against former President Jacob Zuma. This brings to an end a decade of litigation over the initial NPA decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges levelled against former President Zuma. Given the uninspiring record of the NPA in the prosecution of politically-connected individuals, there is perhaps need for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, with the overwhelming public interest and the presence of a vociferous and robust civil society and the possibility of private prosecution, it is hoped that the NPA will be true to its constitutional mandate of prosecuting without fear, favour or prejudice.

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The FW de Klerk Foundation (FWDKF) was established to protect and promote the Constitution. This we do through the work of two Centres: the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) and the Centre for Unity in Diversity (CUD). For 2017 and 2018, the general theme of our work is Property Rights and Land Reform.

The choice of theme by the Foundation preceded the current debate on Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC), sparked by the resolution tabled in Parliament in February 2018. This is in fact testimony of the commitment of the Foundation to land reform and the institutionalisation of property rights for all South Africans.  Furthermore, we believe that the Constitution offers sufficient means and measures to effect land reform within the precepts of section 25 and we remain studiously committed to its implementation as it stands.   

As a Foundation with its two Centres, we offer this position on EWC as a contribution to the essential and ongoing debate in this regard. This position will be extended as the debate continues.


The new Ramaphosa Cabinet is one of promise and compromise. The Gordhans, Nenes and Hanekoms indicate that something new is possible on the economic front. The markets have also taken note, and the Rand is stronger than it was before Nene was fired. On the other hand, the Mabuzas, Dlaminis and Gigabas show that the struggle against state capture, corruption and poor governance and management is far from over.

After the recent vote on expropriation without compensation many South Africans feel discouraged and betrayed. Many thought the ANC-decision of December 2017 would never be implemented. Others were skeptical about Ramaphosa from the beginning - he, after all, inherited a divided and rotten ANC. The question is: should ordinary South Africans give the new government a chance?

My answer is: Yes, BUT ...

parliament interior sabc

Since his narrow victory and election as president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa has had to consolidate his power base cautiously and slowly. He has had to walk the tightrope of fighting corruption and state capture and providing good governance on the one hand, and building unity and striving for reconciliation within the ANC, on the other. In politics, compromise is part and parcel of what any leader faces. The Cabinet appointed yesterday carries the hallmark of this dilemma.

The good news is that he got rid of the worst of the Zumaites: Bongo, Brown, Mahlobo, Maswanganyi, Mbalula, Mkhize, Muthambi, Nhleko, Van Rooyen and Zwane. In this way, he “cleansed” strategic (especially economically-related) portfolios and replaced them with able, experienced and loyal ANC leaders. Examples of this trend are Pravin Gordhan (Public Enterprises), Nhlanhla Nene (Finance), Naledi Pandor (Higher Education and Training), Lindiwe Sisulu (International Relations and Cooperation), Gwede Mantashe (Mineral Resources), Derek Hanekom (Tourism), Blade Nzimande (Transport), Bheki Cele (Police) and Jeff Radebe (Energy). For the same reason, he kept some able and loyal ministers in their portfolios (such as Angie Motshekga in Basic Education).


Twenty-four years ago when we established our new non-racial democracy we hoped that South Africa would settle down to the humdrum process of becoming a normal society.   We hoped that we would be less ‘interesting’ than we had been during the preceding 30 years.

We were wrong.  South Africa was never destined to be a boring country.

The first ‘interesting’ development came only two years after 1994 when the ANC under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki dumped the RDP - the socialist Reconstruction and Development Progamme that had been strongly supported by the South African Communist Party and the trade union confederation COSATU.  In its place the ANC adopted the neo-liberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution programme, known as GEAR.

ramaphosa foter

Millions of South Africans are celebrating the departure of Mr Jacob Zuma, albeit under great duress, with an initial intransigence and a final goodbye just before 23h00 on 14 February. The nation has suffered politically, economically and socially, during his corrupt, strongman and divisive time in office. 

The FW de Klerk Foundation is delighted that change is on the horizon and congratulates the Acting President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa. He has the weighty task to undo the legacies of his predecessor and set South Africa on a course of unity and renewal.  

The odds were stacking up against Mr Zuma in the last few days and hours leading to his resignation, two hours short of a midnight deadline set by his colleagues in the ANC. The well-known saying, “…was he pushed, or did he jump?” comes to mind. Increasingly it is being revealed that behind-the-scenes activity indicates an ANC NEC that developed a remarkable unity on the imperative for Zuma to go. Added to this development was the possibility of interparty cooperation regarding a motion of no confidence. Perhaps this demonstrates a maturing of the democratic project in South Africa.

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