EDITORIAL NOTE: SABC News wishes to apologise for the previous version of this article which inaccurately attributed a headline stating that FW de Klerk ‘was brave enough to fight for better rights for the oppressed’ to President Cyril Ramaphosa. We have since corrected our copy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says despite his personal doubts about the Constitution of South Africa, the last apartheid-era president, FW de Klerk, was prepared to acknowledge that it would guarantee the freedom of all the people in the country.
Ramaphosa was delivering the eulogy at De Klerk’s state memorial service at the Groote Kerk in Cape Town.
“Even as he entered into negotiations, he was fearful of a number of things. As much as he would talk about universal suffering and majority rule it did instill fear in him. Even as he spoke about equal rights for all, he and his party wanted minority rights, cultural rights and the language of Afrikaans to be protected. Even as he expressed his doubts about some parts of the Constitution, he was prepared to acknowledge that it provided a foundation for a South Africa in which the rights and freedoms of all its people would be guaranteed,” says Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa delivers the eulogy at FW De Klerk’s memorial:
De Klerk remembered for his passion for democracy
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the FW de Klerk Foundation Dave Steward says De Klerk has left the country better than he had found it.
Steward says De Klerk will be remembered for his passion for democracy.
“He will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to the constitutional democracy that he, Nelson Mandela, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Thabo Mbeki and all the other negotiators helped to create. In 1999, he established the De Klerk Foundation to defend and promote the constitution. His vision to the day of his death remained fixed on the realisation of a society based on the constitutional values,’ adds Steward.
De Klerk’s son Jan de Klerk pays tribute to his father on behalf of all his children: