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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.



The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the strong reaction of the Zondo-Commission in responding to Jacob Zuma's statements that he will not obey a summons to appear before the State Capture Inquiry. The Commission (the State Capture Inquiry) is on record as having stated that such an act by the former President showed that he considered himself to be ‘above the law and the Constitution’.


The order of the Constitutional Court compels Mr. Zuma to comply with a summons by appearing before it and answering questions that may be put to him. In terms of the summons Mr Zuma is due to appear before the Commission between 15 and 19 February 2021.

The Commission went further to note that “while Mr Zuma refuses to comply with the Constitution and to obey the order of the Constitutional Court, on the one hand, he continues to enjoy the benefits that the Constitution grants to all former Presidents in terms of his pension and other benefits paid for by the taxpayers’.

Zuma, has in the meantime, made it clear he will not comply with the Constitutional Court order and the summons to appear before the Commission and would rather face jail time.

The secretary of the Commission has been instructed to lay a criminal complaint against Zuma for not appearing on 18 to 22 January 2021.

One of the founding values of the South African Constitution is ‘supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law’ and section 9(1) of the Bill of Rights determines that ‘everyone is equal before the law’.

Mr Zuma’s conduct not only amounts to blatant contempt of the Commission but also shows a clear disregard for the rule of law, the Courts and the Constitution. If Mr Zuma wants to call on the protection of the law in defence of his rights, he must also act in accordance with the law, as other law-abiding citizens must do.

It is imperative that Mr Zuma is dealt with decisively by the Commission, the relevant authorities and the courts. Failure to do so would set a dangerous precedent: it would undermine both the rule of law and President Ramaphosa’s efforts to restore integrity in government.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
3 February 2021



2021 is the 30th anniversary year of CODESA.

Taking stock, we must ask ourselves to what extent have we achieved the vision that we set for ourselves during the CODESA negotiations and whether we are on the right path considering what we initially sought to achieve, and agreed upon in the 1993 and 1996 constitutions?

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic South Africa faces a number of critical challenges - including deteriorating race relations, rampant corruption, growing inequality and a failing economy.

But the biggest threat we currently face is the looming threat to property rights in South Africa posed by expropriation without compensation (EWC).

The Expropriation Bill is currently before Parliament and public participation on the Bill has been extended to 28 February 2021.1 The Bill contains worrying and unconstitutional sections that will dilute the property rights of all South Africans - not just landowners or farmers, but of all property owners - including more than 8 million black South Africans who own their own homes.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights has raised a number of critical concerns about the constitutional issues arising from the Bill and has tabled these concerns to Parliament as part of the public participatory process.

Although the Bill has undergone many reviews and amendments through the years it remains contentious for a number of reasons. In its submission the Centre has, inter alia, raised the following concerns:

- It lists five circumstances under which ‘nil compensation’ (zero) could be paid when property is expropriated;

- This list, in terms of the Bill, is not exhaustive and could presumably be extended to include any number of other circumstances in which nil compensation might be paid for expropriated property;

- In its current form it offers government almost extensive and undefined powers to expropriate virtually any form of property - this includes intangible property such as copyrighted and patented property;

- The Bill lacks clear definition in a number of areas and provides very little in terms of oversight opportunity by experts to ensure fairness to ordinary South Africans;

- The Bill also provides no clear definition of a proper public consultation process and no definition of what is meant by the “public interest”.
This Expropriation Bill clearly poses a serious threat to property rights which are a core requirement for all free and prosperous societies.

The Centre is of the view that section 25 of the Constitution (the property clause) as it is currently worded constitutes a proper framework for an effective process of land reform. The payment of fair and equitable compensation for expropriated property is not the main impediment to land reform. Rather, it is - in the view of the High Level Panel2 chaired by former President Motlanthe the inefficiency, corruption and lack of resources of the responsible government departments.

EWC, and if the Expropriation Bill is adopted, might represent a crucial point in the history of post 1994 South Africa at which the country, decisively, turns away from the vision of genuine non-racial constitutional democracy on which our new society was founded.

In the Centre’s view the Bill and EWC actually have very little to do with the implementation of an effective land reform process and are the latest manifestations of the ANC-SACP's National Democratic Revolution ideology.

The FW de Klerk Foundation will be presenting a separate submission on these aspects of the Bill and of EWC to Parliament early next week.

You can view the Bill and the Centre’s submission here, as well as the link to the government page where you can provide your own comments, or submission, on the Bill:





Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
19 February 2021

Rhodes statue UCT


Our history mirrors the troubled histories of many other countries in North and South America and Australasia that were ‘discovered’ and settled by Europeans between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The indigenous populations were conquered, some were enslaved and nearly all lost their ancestral lands.   As Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux observed: “They made us many promises, but they kept only one: they promised to take our land - and they did.” Some indigenous people died resisting the invaders - but many, many more succumbed to the settlers’ diseases - perhaps as many as 90% of the population of South and Central America.

The Dutch settlement of the Cape from 1652 onwards was a catastrophe for the Koi and San.   They were dispossessed of their traditional lands as settlers pushed further and further into the hinterland.  Some died in skirmishes with settlers - but many more were killed by smallpox and other European diseases.  Some were enslaved; others became servants or soldiers of the British Army; and others trekked beyond the reach of European rule.

The nineteenth century was dominated by Britain’s conquest of the three strongest peoples of southern Africa - first, the Xhosa in recurrent frontier wars between 1811 and 1879; secondly the Zulus in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879; and thirdly, the two Boer republics - whose independence enjoyed international recognition - in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.  For almost three years some 50 000 Boers held the mighty British Army at bay.  The war was the biggest and most expensive of the 80 or so wars that the British fought between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War.  It involved the deployment of 430 000 troops - compared with the 100 000 that the British deployed in North America during the War of Independence.

After the war, the British found themselves with a ragbag of expensive and vexatious territories in southern Africa.  What to do with them?  Why not create a union or federation as they had recently done so successfully with their colonies in Canada and Australia?   And so in 1910 the Union of South Africa was established.  Of course, there was - shockingly by the standards of our time - no question of giving meaningful political rights to the majority black population of the new country.  That would have been a dangerous precedent for Britain’s far-flung colonies in the rest of Africa - and, much more seriously, for its vast empire in India.

For the first 40 years of the new union, politics centered on the relationship between the Afrikaners and the descendants of British settlers.  White South Africans regarded themselves - and were regarded internationally - in the same light as Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians - as another Commonwealth nation.  They fought in the world wars; played cricket and rugby and attended Commonwealth Conferences. 

After the National Party victory in 1948 - which coincided ironically with the adoption of the International Declaration of Human Rights - the focus of politics shifted increasingly to the growing conflict between black and white nationalisms. This struggle culminated - not in a long-anticipated race war - but in a negotiated settlement that established our present constitutional democracy.

Now, this is a whole lot of history that we cannot understand unless we read about it in depth from as many perspectives as possible.  I would recommend “Frontiers” by Noel Mostert on the Frontier Wars; “The Washing of the Spears” by Donald Morris on the Anglo-Zulu War; “The Anglo-Boer War” by Thomas Packenham; the wonderful 143-episode podcast of the Anglo-Boer War by Des Latham; Hermann Giliomee’s magisterial book on the Afrikaners; Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”- and (of course!) FW de Klerk’s “The Last trek - a New Beginning”.

Only if we South Africans understand - and respect - one another’s pasts - will we be able to find one another in the present and move forward together into the future.   It is thus a great disappointment - but not a surprise - that the ANC wants to dispense with most of this history and replace it with its own NDR-redacted version that can be summed up, more or less, as “blacks good; whites evil (except for Joe Slovo, Braam Fischer and Beyers Naude)”.

Last month Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister of Sport, Art and Culture, confirmed that the government plans to make the teaching of “authentic prescribed history” compulsory at schools and that it would move “apartheid and colonial era statues, symbols and monuments” to “cultural nation-building parks”.  He said that the offensive statues would be moved after consultation with the communities in which they were situated.   However - and despite such consultations - “what is important, is that we decide that the statues of supporters of apartheid and colonialism should not stand in our prominent public spaces.” “They should rather go to the proposed nation-building parks, because we do not believe, as other people say, that they belong in the dustbin of history.”  

An audit of offensive statues, symbols and monuments will be carried out throughout the country by 260 unemployed youth at a cost of R10 million.  We don’t know what they will recommend - but it is pretty clear that the ANC is intent on excising any objective history of white South Africans from our national story.  Statues of great men - who for better or worse - had an enormous impact on South Africa - will be consigned to “theme parks” where their roles will, no doubt, be explained by guides who have been properly indoctrinated in the ANC version of history.   Will they include Jan van Riebeeck, Oom Paul, Marthinus Pretorius, Louis Botha, Cecil Rhodes, President Steyn and Jan Smuts?   This would be in keeping with Angie Motshekga’s statement a few years ago that the goal of the ANC’s new history will be to depict all former white leaders as “Folk Devils”.   In a truly Orwellian twist, this frontal assault on two of our national minorities will be carried out in the name of “social cohesion” and “nation-building”.

Human history is replete with oppression, wars, conquests and suffering.  Virtually all the peoples of the world - including black and white South Africans - have been victims and perpetrators.  And yet we make progress and sometimes rise above our fears and passions to make peace - as we did in 1994.

People cannot be separated from their history.  The exclusion by the state of their historic symbols from public spaces means that they as peoples are no longer welcome in the concept of the nation and are relegated to a place of moral inferiority beyond the periphery of the acceptable.

History is not a beauty contest.  It should tell future generations as impartially as possible, in the words of the great German historian Leopold von Ranke, wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened)Without this knowledge we will not know where we came from, who we really are - or how to avoid a repetition of the injustices of the pastMore seriously, people who are deprived of their history are also deprived of their right to culture.  Without a right to culture there can be neither a right to human dignity nor to equality.  If any of our people are deprived of their rights to human dignity and equality our entire constitutional system is in the gravest peril.

By Dave Steward, Chairman of the FW de Klerk Foundation

10 December 2020

Photo credit:


Rhodes statue UCT

South Africa will mark National Reconciliation Day on 16 December 2020 with a focus on racism and gender-based violence. 1

One of government’s key calls to action in this regard is for all South Africans “to confront their preconceived ideas about race and racism.”2

During 1993 and the CODESA it was envisaged that reconciliation, peace and stability would be defining characteristics of our new constitutional dispensation as the transition from apartheid to a new non-racial state gave us an opportunity to reach out to each other to deal with our past, reconcile and build a new South Africa.

One of the most important aspects recognised in the Constitution of South Africa, is the importance of our collective heritage and the rich cultural, linguistic and historical diversity of our country. The South African Constitution unambiguously speaks to this in its’ preamble: South Africa belongs to all who live in it - united in our diversity - in the wider context of a nation and country recognising the injustices of our past; honouring those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land as well as respecting those who have worked to build and develop our country.

Further to the above, government indicates that 16 December “is an opportunity to celebrate how far we have come and that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and we must appreciate and respect our diversity and unique heritage which unites us as a nation.”3

Government also indicates that “the fight against racism is everyone’s responsibility. Speak up when you witness discrimination. Interrupt racist talk and make it clear that it has no place in our society. Let us work together to expose institutional racism and wherever racism is treated as the norm.”

Is government really committed to this?

Rhodes statue UCT

As we enter 2021, with all the uncertainties created by the COVID crisis, a desperate struggle is being waged for the heart and soul of the ANC. The struggle arises from the split that has divided the organisation since the election of its present leadership at the 2017 National Conference at NASREC.

The new leadership was divided from the start between Ramaphosa’s supporters and those of former President Zuma - led by the powerful Secretary-General, Ace Magashule. The main cause of contention was Ramaphosa’s determination to root out corruption - a cause which enjoyed widespread support among the ANC rank and file, but caused deep concern among influential elements within the ANC’s structures - many of whom were deeply tainted by corruption.



The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the Western Cape Education Department’s finding that it could find no evidence of racism at Brackenfell High School’s recent matric function.

The now well-known incident and subsequent events at the school descended into violence with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) protesting at ‘racism’ at the high school which allegedly surfaced during a private matric party on 17 October 2020.

The events were characterized by violent clashes between EFF members, parents, community members and the South African Police Services (SAPS) and were particularly aggravated by actions of the EFF and its’ members, who caused serious damage to the Brackenfell Post Office, traffic lights, roads as well as a car dealership.  They set alight a fire engine, burned grass during the protests, and, according to other reports, looted a number of local shops.

The events culminated with EFF protesters throwing rocks at SAPS members, with the police in turn responding with tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets and arresting eight protesters for public violence. EFF leader, Julius Malema, responded by saying that the EFF would treat the police “the same way we treated them in the 80’s. We will not only fight them at the picket lines, we will go to their homes and fight them in their own houses with their own families.” The Pan African Congress (PAC) also protested, according to its’ spokesperson, “to confront racist settlers” and used the “one settler, one bullet” slogan.

Indications are that the preliminary report, compiled by the Department and following its’ investigation into the incident, has cleared the school of racism for the event and Western Cape MEC for Education, Debbie Schafer, says the report will be released soon.1
Schafer said that "all indications are exactly what the Department said before - it was a private event organised by a private individual who was disappointed that their child couldn't get their matric function, which was cancelled by the school". She stated that “it has obviously raised a lot of issues that will be dealt with, but on that particular event, there is no evidence of discrimination on the basis of race."

Schafer also noted that “the fact that people from other schools attended, shows that it was not a “school event”. It was not held on school property, as has been widely reported, despite repeated corrections”.

The SAHRC has announced that it will take the PAC to court for chanting “one settler, one bullet” and twelve complaints were laid against EFF supporters for allegedly singing “shoot the farmer/Boer” outside the school. It will also investigate why some EFF protesters were allegedly carrying golf clubs, axes and stones as well as Julius Malema’s statements regarding attacking members of the SAPS.

As previously stated2 the Foundation remains deeply concerned that throughout the events the main focus of media, institutional and government attention was not on the EFF (and, subsequently, the PAC’s) inciteful racist behaviour and intimidation - but rather on the school, the Western Cape Education Department, the private matric party and unsubstantiated allegations of racism at the school.

It is crucial that racist or hurtful non-inclusive behaviour anywhere in South Africa should be dealt with firmly and effectively. What is, however, equally critical is unified and unambiguous condemnation by all South Africans of the EFF’s openly racist threats and instigation of violence. Such actions have the potential of provoking racial conflict that would cause immense harm to South Africa.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
9 December 2020






Former president FW de Klerk recently conducted an exclusive interview with Leader of Tomorrow Grégoire Roos from the St. Gallen Symposium.

The St. Gallen Symposium is a world leading initiative for intergenerational debates on economic, political and social developments. The Symposium takes place annually in May at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

During the Symposium key decision-makers from the fields of economics, politics, science, and society take part to meet and exchange with various international leaders in pursuance of the Symposium’s mission: Fostering dialogue between different generations.

During the interview Mr De Klerk - Nobel Peace laureate and one of Africa’s most senior statesmen - talked about his fight to put an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa and also discussed his close relationship - personal and political - with Nelson Mandela.

Mr de Klerk emphasized that real leaders must be prepared to risk unpopularity by taking, and pursuing, decisions they believe to be right. Mr de Klerk also stressed the importance of mutual trust to successfully conduct complex political negotiations and why trust is instrumental to enable national reconciliation.

The interview can be accessed here:

“Real Leaders Accept Risking Unpopularity by Taking Decisions They Believe to Be Right” | St. Gallen Symposium


Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
27 January 2021


Heritage Day

On Friday, 20 November the EFF carried out its threat to hold a second protest at Brackenfell High School in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.   Its purpose was ostensibly to protest at ‘racism’ at the high school, exemplified by a private matric party on 17 October that was attended only by whites.  It also wanted to push back against white “terrorists” with whom its members had clashed violently at a protest that it had held at the school on 9 November.

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