South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk.
“We must not be critics, sitting on our couches, blowing off steam in our homes. All South Africans must get onto [the] playing field and become politically active,” De Klerk said in his closing address at the FW de Klerk Foundation’s discussion in Johannesburg about the recent ANC policy conference.
The ANC policy conference resolved to charter a new economic future for South Africa based on rapid transformation through concentrated land reform and greater state activity in the economy – particularly the mineral sector.
It is understood these reforms would occur within the context of the ANC and its alliance partners’ national democratic revolution.
“The national democratic revolution wants to transform us into a communist state. This is dangerous. Communism has been proved to fail,” De Klerk said.
De Klerk said the rhetoric employed by the ruling party was becoming increasingly hostile towards white South Africans.
“The Mandela and Mbeki era of reconciliation is over,” he said.
“White males are quite unjustly blamed for the continuing triple crisis of unemployment, inequality and poverty.”
De Klerk claimed the ANC was using racism as a “smokescreen” to hide their failures in management and governance, citing the Limpopo textbook crisis as a case in point.
“The fact that the president blames this on the presidency of [Hendrik] Verwoerd is unacceptable, it is strictly a management issue. It did not derive from apartheid – it is inexcusable,” he said.
While De Klerk conceded mistakes had been made in setting about black ownership in the South African economy, it was wrong to say the Constitution was a barrier to bringing about equality.
“The black share of the South African economy has grown exponentially and dramatically. It is the job of government to improve that,” he said.
De Klerk said the overwhelming majority of South Africans, irrespective of race or colour, were prepared to “take hands” to build the country, but it was up to them to ensure a better future.
“Choose the political party which is nearest to what you believe in. But it is important that you become politically active, that is the most effective way of bringing about change,” he said.