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.
It is generally accepted that, after a period of intense political and social turmoil, South Africans are generally somewhat despondent, negative and bewildered. It is not necessary to further expand upon this - the daily dose of the latest state-capture scandal, road and flood deaths are well-known.
However, a general election doesn't come every year. And with just two days before the election, the question is: what does one do from now until Wednesday and how does one approach the polling station on May 8, 2019? The correct answer is not, “nothing special”. Or, “I'm not going to vote”, or “I don't know who to vote for”.
The Board of Trustees of the FW de Klerk Foundation wishes to appoint a suitably-qualified person to take over as head of the Foundation, with effect from 1 June 2019 (or as soon as possible thereafter). This is a full-time, Cape Town-based position.
In 2016 the FW de Klerk Foundation joined a group of other foundations, led by or based on the legacy of iconic national leaders, under the banner of the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI)*. The main goal of the NFDI is to lead and facilitate a process of ongoing dialogue between all South Africans on our common future, based on our shared commitment to our Constitution. This is in keeping with the FW de Klerk Foundation’s vision and mission, of promoting FW de Klerk’s presidential heritage, among others, to support and promote the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This includes every South African’s right to vote.
27 April will mark the 25th anniversary of the transformation of South Africa from centuries of white minority rule to rule by the majority of all the people of the country. All over South Africa people lined up patiently to exercise their right to vote for the government of their choice - most of them for the first time in their lives. It was, perhaps, the greatest day in the long and conflicted history of the great variety of peoples who were arbitrarily brought together 84 years earlier in the Union of South Africa. It is now quite rightly celebrated as Freedom Day - and as South Africa’s national day.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) recently announced that 48 parties will contest the national elections on 8 May. That is more than the 29 that took part in 2014 - a 65% increase! Will greater participation, however, give South Africa a better democracy?
The astonishing fact is that according to the IEC’s website, there are 312 parties registered at national level, and 294 at provincial level. The number of parties at national level shrank to 48 due to two factors. The first is the IEC’s own selection process, which led to 118 parties being de-registered and 29 applications being rejected. The second factor is that some parties (117) did not pay the registration fee needed to participate in the election. These costs are quite high - R200 000 to participate at national level, and then R45 000 per province. A party that wishes to participate at national level and in all the provinces will therefore have to pay R605 000. A smaller party could find it challenging to raise such a sum.
On the eve of the FW de Klerk Foundation’s 20th anniversary, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees has taken a number of important decisions. These are to ensure that the Foundation continues to play a significant role deep into the future in supporting the Constitution, promoting positive inter-community relations and commemorating FW de Klerk’s legacy.
The Foundation has decided to acquire its own offices, where it will establish an FW de Klerk Documentation Centre. One of the Centre’s core purposes will be to commemorate South Africa’s historic constitutional transformation process between 1990 and 1996, and the role that South Africans from all political parties played in this process. The Board believes - together with many others in South Africa and throughout the world - that this was one of South Africa’s greatest achievements.
The FW de Klerk Foundation is once again deeply concerned about the hate speech findings made by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding certain statements made by Mr Malema and other members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). These include the Foundation’s initial complaint against Mr Malema in November 2016, in which he stated that “…We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now ”. This was, inexplicably, found by the SAHRC not to be hate speech in terms of section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (the Equality Act). The SAHRC found that none of the other complaints were hate speech in terms of the Equality Act.
The ANC recently published the list of its members who will go to Parliament following the May election. These people will form the ANC Caucus in Parliament; they must support President Ramaphosa in his plans to set the government and the economy on a firm footing. If one takes a closer look, and applies one’s mind, the compilation of this list is almost more important than the voting percentage of between 55% and 60% that the ANC is likely to get in the general election. The compilation of this list is the most recent barometer of how matters stand in the battle between the constitutionalists on the Ramaphosa side, and the kleptocrats on the Zupta side.