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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.

Zondo Commission


The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the decision of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to take action against former president, Jacob Zuma, for leaving the Commission on 20 November without permission following the dismissal of his application for Justice Zondo to recuse himself.

The state capture inquiry will lay a criminal charge against Mr Zuma with the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Justice Zondo ruled that Mr Zuma's action was uncalled for and he would be summoned to appear again. He added that "any person summoned to attend and to give evidence before the commission is required to do so" as "we are all equal before the law."
Justice Zondo concluded, in an hour-long judgement last week that Zuma's recusal application had no merit and that he “had failed to meet the test for a reasonable apprehension of bias”. He also faulted the manner in which the test had been interpreted by the former president’s lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane SC.

Sikhakhane responded by saying he and Mr Zuma would leave the proceedings; would take the ruling on review and would furthermore lodge a complaint against Zondo with the Judicial Services Commission.

Legally, it is not open to Mr Zuma simply to excuse himself. If his legal team's challenge does not succeed, a summons will be issued stipulating the dates on which he will be required to appear before the commission to give evidence. If he fails to do so he could be arrested.

In what are now widely referred to as "Stalingrad tactics" it appears that Mr Zuma plans to disrupt the state capture commission’s work by launching an endless series of spurious legal challenges and delays.
However, all of this may be part of a broader - and even more critical - struggle within the ANC leadership between factions, on the one hand, that condemn corruption and on the other, those whose positions might be seriously threatened by the kind of effective anti-corruption action that we hope will ultimately emerge from the Zondo Commission.

In the meantime, it is reassuring that Justice Zondo is evidently intent on enforcing the principles of equality before the law, independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and non-impunity - particularly in the ongoing fight against corruption.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
24 November 2020

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The FW de Klerk Foundation is deeply concerned about the situation that is developing at Brackenfell High School in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. The EFF has announced its intention to hold a major demonstration outside the high school tomorrow - Friday 20 November - where students are busy writing their matric exams. There is a possibility that members of the local community might once again gather at the school at the same time in their efforts to ‘defend’ the school.

The cause of the EFF’s ‘outrage’ has nothing to do with the school. It arises from the fact that black and coloured students may - or may - not have been invited to a private party that matrics and their parents arranged after the school’s official matric ball was cancelled because of COVID-19.

The Brackenfell School Governing Body has, in the meantime, announced a range of measures to deal with the allegations of some students regarding racism at the school.

Yesterday, in an effort to compete against the EFF for radical support, the PAC held its own demonstration outside the school which was quickly broken up by the police. A PAC spokesman said that they had come to the school to confront racist “settlers”. In a TV interview he defended the PAC’s use of the “one settler, one bullet” slogan.

What we have here is radical parties that are intent on consciously sweeping up racial confrontation by seizing on minor racial insensitivities that may, or may not, have occurred in the Brackenfell community. In the process these parties are adopting extremely provocative racial attitudes and language.

South Africa simply cannot afford this.

The Foundation calls on President Ramaphosa and Premier Winde to call for calm and to ensure the maintenance of law and order. We also ask them, our churches and the Human Rights Commission to condemn racist actions and statements from all sides in an evenhanded manner.


Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
19 November 2020


Globally and in South Africa the pandemic crisis of 2020 continues to test the solidity of the foundations of many aspects of 21st Century society. This is particularly evident in the economy, communications and culture, but it also raises many legal questions, especially concerning the extent of the powers of the state and the government in exceptional circumstances.

The South African government received praise, for instance from the World Health Organization, for the manner in which it had responded to the crisis, and it would be churlish to deny that South Africans generally have much to be grateful for, given the relatively positive results that may be ascribed to some of the drastic measures taken by the government to curb the spread of the virus.


Prosecutors play a crucial role in the administration of justice in any country. They contribute to ensuring transparent accountability, fair legal as well as equitable criminal justice processes and the effective protection of citizens against crime. It is imperative that they vigorously protect the public interest and act with objectivity and integrity.

In a country like South Africa, where there is rampant corruption, severe political abuse of power and blatant state capture, the need for a vibrant and independent prosecuting authority is even greater.

200131 FWDK

It is once again a great pleasure for me to address the Cape Town Press Club.

I shall spend a little more time today on the past than on the future ‐ because, at the age of 84, I have much more past than future ‐ and also because the past has become an increasingly contentious issue, not only for the present ‐ but also for the future.

Heritage Day

This Heritage Day we are slowly emerging from the most immediate aftermath of Covid-19 and its devastating effect on our country, economy and people.

On this day -and in a country belonging to all its’ people - South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture, the diversity of their beliefs and traditions.

One of the most important aspects recognised in the Constitution of South Africa, is the importance of our collective heritage and the rich cultural, linguistic and historical landscape painting the canvas of our people’s diversity. The South African Constitution unambiguously speaks to this in its’ preamble: South Africa belongs to all who live in it - united in our diversity - in the wider context of a nation and country recognising the injustices of our past; honouring those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land as well as respecting those who have worked to build and develop our country.

Heritage Day

In his dystopian novel “1984” George Orwell introduced us to the concept of “doublethink” - which he described as -

“…the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary.”

We saw examples of doublethink in President Ramaphosa’s statement on Heritage Day last week.

Heritage Day

The long-simmering crisis of farm murders has come to a head following the murder on 1 October of a 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner at a farm outside Paul Roux in the Free State.

Horner’s body was found tied to a pole and the 21-year-old had injuries to the face and neck.

Only two days later police arrested two suspects, Sekola Piet Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, in a township near Paul Roux. Blood-stained clothes and shoes were found in their possession.

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