President Cyril Ramaphosa says he learnt with “great sadness” today of the passing of South Africa’s former Deputy President and former State President Frederik Willem “FW” de Klerk.
The Presidency issued a statement saying: “The Former Deputy President passed away earlier today, Thursday, 11 November 2021, after an extended period of illness. He was 85 years of age.
“I offer my sincerest condolences to his wife, Elita, his children Jan and Susan, and his grandchildren. My thoughts are also with Mr De Klerk’s friends and associates and the management and staff of the FW de Klerk Foundation.
“The then State President De Klerk played a vital role in our transition to democracy in the 1990s, which originated from his first meeting in 1989 with President Nelson Mandela who was a political prisoner at that stage.
“He took the courageous decision to unban political parties, release political prisoners and enter into negotiations with the liberation movement amid severe pressure to the contrary from many in his political constituency.
“Deputy President was a committed South African who embraced the democratic constitutional dispensation and placed the long-term future of the country ahead of narrow political interests.
“Serving as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996, Mr De Klerk played an important role in the Government of National Unity, dedicating himself to the constitutional imperative of healing the divisions and conflict of our past.
“Deputy President De Klerk’s passing, weeks before the 25th anniversary of our democratic Constitution, should inspire all of us to reflect on the birth of our democracy and on our shared duty to remain true to the values of our Constitution.
“May his soul rest in peace.”
No state funeral was announced, and instead President Ramaphosa said: “The FW de Klerk Foundation will in due course make announcements regarding funeral arrangements.”
READ MORE about former President FW de Klerk, his life and his death from mesothelioma cancer here.
DON’T MISS Carte Blanche This Sunday: “Apartheid’s Last President”
Don’t miss Carte Blanche this Sunday (or Tuesday if you live abroad in most countries) as the current affairs programme reflects on FW de Klerk’s place in history – “a political figure feted by some, reviled by many”. Watch on Sunday 14 November in South Africa on DStv Now or stream it overseas in most countries from 16 November, on Showmax International, if you’re abroad.