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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.

DEFENDING THE 1996 CONSTITUTIONIn six articles that recently appeared in Politicsweb, Prof Koos Malan provided an expert analysis of many of the problems facing the constitution.

He is clearly not a fan of the 1996 constitution. He questions the wisdom of those who have put their faith in the prospect that it would “usher in and guarantee peace, reconciliation and the protection of rights for all.”

He goes on to question the premises on which so many South Africans have based their faith in the constitution – that it is ‘supreme’, that it contains adequate checks and balances – and that it will be administered by a fearless and impartial judiciary.

SA lockdownNo right-thinking South African doubted the necessity of the lock-down for the past three weeks. President Ramaphosa was widely lauded for his decisive and clear leadership. The majority of South Africans adhered to the regulations of the past three weeks, because we believed that the infection curve would flatten and that lives would be saved. Many excused the unintended consequences of police and defence over-reaction, and even understood that the curtailment of basic human rights may be necessary for the greater good. When our president announced a two-week extension of the lock-down, he was emphatic that some regulations would be relaxed in due course. Most of us understood the need for the extension, and we welcomed the prospect of the relaxation of the regulations to help the economy’s recovery.

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The shocking state of local government finances and service delivery is well known. The 2019 Auditor-General's report on the state of local government finances showed that more than a third of the 257 municipalities and 21 municipal entities were dysfunctional. Only 8% received a clean audit (versus 14% in 2016/17). When traveling in the north of the country, especially in the countryside, the decline of smaller towns in terms of maintenance of roads, water and sewage is evident. Standerton (Lekwa) was in the news last year when the municipality, which is only a few kilometres from the Vaal River and the Grootdraai Dam, was unable to supply water to the Astral Foods plant.


The FW de Klerk Foundation wishes to announce that Dr Dayne Morkel has informed us of his decision to resign as CEO of the Foundation, with effect from 31 March. Dr Morkel will be accepting an appointment as CEO of the Foundation for Peace in Divided Societies in the United States, an organisation with which the FW de Klerk Foundation has had close ties for 20 years. Dr Morkel took this decision before the controversy that arose from the treatment of Mr De Klerk by the EFF at the State of the Nation Address and the Foundation’s resulting statement of 14 February.Dr Morkel has resided between the United States and South Africa for several years, and this new role will allow him to continue to support the causes for which the FW de Klerk Foundation works, whilst focusing on a number of emerging opportunities for the Foundation in the United States. The Foundation looks forward to continuing to work with Dr Morkel in his new role.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
4 March 2020


 1.1 The FW de Klerk Foundation (the Foundation) was established in 1999 to protect and promote the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, as the most important legacy of its founder, former President FW de Klerk. 

1.2 The Foundation recognises the need for the transformation of sport and recreation, to make sport and recreation facilities, participation and training available to all South Africans.It believes that the Department of Sport and Recreation; the Department of National Education and sporting federations and bodies have a duty to make sport and recreation accessible to all South Africans and particularly to the youth. 

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I have taken note of the vehement reaction to our response to the EFF’s attack on me at the State of the Nation address on Thursday night.

I agree with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation that this is not the time to quibble about the degrees of unacceptability of apartheid.  It was totally unacceptable.

The FW de Klerk Foundation has accordingly decided to withdraw its statement of 14 February unconditionally and apologises for the confusion, anger and hurt that it has caused. 

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The FW de Klerk Foundation was established in 1999 to promote and protect the Constitution and its values, as well as to commemorate the transition to democracy in the early 90s. Each year, the Foundation hosts its Annual Conference around 2 February to commemorate former President FW de Klerk's historic speech on that day in 1990 - when the transition formally started with announcement that political parties would be unbanned and political prisoners (among which Nelson Mandela was the most prominent) were to be released. This Conference was held in Cape Town this year on Friday, 31 January, 30 years after this momentous speech.

The release of Nelson Mandela from prison 30 years ago was the first momentous consequence of the announcements made by President FW de Klerk in Parliament nine days earlier.  As Mr De Klerk observed in his autobiography: as he watched Nelson Mandela walking through the gates of Victor Verster Prison, he was struck by an inescapable truth: “ irreversible process had begun and nobody could predict precisely how it would end.”  

Now 30 years later we can answer part of that question:  

  • the constitutional democracy that FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela took the lead in negotiating during the following six years is still intact; 
  • South African has rejoined the international community;
  • it has rid itself of the albatross of minority racial domination;
  • all South Africans enjoy nominal equality;
  • the new multi-racial middle class has flourished.

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