Our country faces great challenges: in particular, we need to discuss our failure to promote equality since 1994; we need to examine the failure of our schools to produce properly educated young South Africans; our failure to create the jobs that we need to address unacceptable levels of unemployment; and our failure to achieve the sustained high levels of economic growth that are necessary to meet the rising expectations and needs of our people.

We also need to discuss the current threats to our constitutional democracy – including the need to combat racism from any quarter and to promote national unity while maintaining and celebrating our rich cultural diversity.

We believe that our new national dialogue should take place within the framework of the values that lie at the foundation of our constitutional democracy: human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedoms; non-racialism and non-sexism; the supremacy of the Constitution and of the Rule of Law; and a multi-party system of democratic government to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.

Of this we are sure: we South Africans will not be able to solve the problems that confront us and achieve the vision in our Constitution unless we all work together. In order to work together we first need to talk and reason together to enable us to reach agreement about the painful divisions of our past and the enormous promise and potential of our future.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation