13 May 2012 01:36 -
Nehawu demanded on Sunday that former president FW de Klerk's Nobel Peace Prize be retracted over comments he made in an interview with CNN. The National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) demanded on Sunday that former president FW de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize be retracted over comments he made in an interview with United State broadcaster CNN.
“De Klerk exposed himself to be an unapologetic proponent of a racist, facist system that oppressed the majority,” Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.
De Klerk was interviewed at a summit of Nobel laureates in Chicago on Thursday night, the Times reported.
Asked whether he agreed that apartheid was morally repugnant, De Klerk said: “In as much as it trampled human rights it was, and remains, morally indefensible.”
However, De Klerk then reportedly said about the homeland system: “But the concept of giving, as the Czechs have it now, and the Slovaks have it, of saying that ethnic unity with one culture with one language [everyone] can be happy and can fulfil their democratic aspirations in an own state, that is not repugnant.”
According to the Times, he denied that black South African in the homelands were disenfranchised.
“They were not disenfranchised, they voted. They were not put in homelands, the homelands were historically there.
If only the developed world would put so much money into Africa, which is struggling with poverty, as we poured into those homelands. How many universities were built? How many schools?” he asked.
‘Separate but equal failed’
“At that stage the goal was separate but equal, but separate but equal failed.” He said he later became “a convert” against the system.
Asked about the state of South Africa’s democracy De Klerk reportedly said: “I’m convinced it’s a solid democracy and it will remain so, but it’s not a healthy democracy.”
“De Klerk was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with a giant like [former president] Nelson Mandela, but is unfit to be in the same category as those who have won this prize before him,” said Pamla.
De Klerk’s statements showed that he ended apartheid because he and his Cabinet could no longer sustain it and not because he believed it to be immoral system, he said.
The Young Communist League said De Klerk could never be equated with Mandela “as he wants the world to believe”.
For De Klerk to equate Bantustans with “little democracies” and to suggest that the only reason to reform the political system was economic, illustrated that De Klerk did not deserve the peace prize, said YCL provincial spokesperson Mangaliso Stalin Khonza.
“One wonders whether De Klerk wants to replace the late Eugene Terre’Blanche [the slain leader of the right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging] at a public level as a narrow political and right-wing nuisance due to his stance and attacks on the building of a non-racist and democratic society,” he said.