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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.

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The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes media reports that eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court today, relating to charges of fraud and corruption concerning eThekwini Municipality. Ms Gumede apparently handed herself over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), to avoid arrest and appeared in Court to face the charges. 

This signals one of the first dominoes to fall in answering for the alleged looting of State funds, and all eyes will be on the court case.

According to a statement by the Hawks of 13 May 2019, Mayor Gumede is part of a larger group who were arrested following an investigation by the Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team (NCATT) into eThekwini Municipality. The investigation centred around allegations of fraud and corruption relating to a R208 million Durban Solid Waste tender. 

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Democratic South Africa’s sixth general election has come and gone. Before reflecting on and interpreting the results, it is necessary to pause and consider the process that unfolded and brought us to this point. According to section 190 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission must “manage elections... in accordance with national legislation; ensure that those elections are free and fair; and declare the results of those elections within a period that ... is as short as reasonably possible”. 

There was, therefore, a huge amount of preparation done for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections. During that time the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was also mandated by the Constitutional Court to ensure that every eligible voter had a correct home address - a task that they had not yet completed by Election Day. Concerns were registered beforehand about the IEC’s capacity and its budget. Concerns had also been raised about the number of voters who had registered. Despite the IEC’s best efforts, only 27 million of the 36 million eligible voters registered. A further concern was the low rate of youth registration, especially in the category 18 to 36 years.

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It is generally accepted that, after a period of intense political and social turmoil, South Africans are generally somewhat despondent, negative and bewildered. It is not necessary to further expand upon this - the daily dose of the latest state-capture scandal, road and flood deaths are well-known.

However, a general election doesn't come every year. And with just two days before the election, the question is: what does one do from now until Wednesday and how does one approach the polling station on May 8, 2019? The correct answer is not, “nothing special”. Or, “I'm not going to vote”, or “I don't know who to vote for”.

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The Board of Trustees of the FW de Klerk Foundation wishes to appoint a suitably-qualified person to take over as head of the Foundation, with effect from 1 June 2019 (or as soon as possible thereafter). This is a full-time, Cape Town-based position. 

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In 2016 the FW de Klerk Foundation joined a group of other foundations, led by or based on the legacy of iconic national leaders, under the banner of the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI)*. The main goal of the NFDI is to lead and facilitate a process of ongoing dialogue between all South Africans on our common future, based on our shared commitment to our Constitution.  This is in keeping with the FW de Klerk Foundation’s vision and mission, of promoting FW de Klerk’s presidential heritage, among others, to support and promote the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This includes every South African’s right to vote. 

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27 April will mark the 25th anniversary of the transformation of South Africa from centuries of white minority rule to rule by the majority of all the people of the country. All over South Africa people lined up patiently to exercise their right to vote for the government of their choice - most of them for the first time in their lives.   It was, perhaps, the greatest day in the long and conflicted history of the great variety of peoples who were arbitrarily brought together 84 years earlier in the Union of South Africa. It is now quite rightly celebrated as Freedom Day - and as South Africa’s national day.

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) recently announced that 48 parties will contest the national elections on 8 May. That is more than the 29 that took part in 2014 - a 65% increase! Will greater participation, however, give South Africa a better democracy?

The astonishing fact is that according to the IEC’s website, there are 312 parties registered at national level, and 294 at provincial level. The number of parties at national level shrank to 48 due to two factors. The first is the IEC’s own selection process, which led to 118 parties being de-registered and 29 applications being rejected. The second factor is that some parties (117) did not pay the registration fee needed to participate in the election. These costs are quite high - R200 000 to participate at national level, and then R45 000 per province. A party that wishes to participate at national level and in all the provinces will therefore have to pay R605 000. A smaller party could find it challenging to raise such a sum.

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On the eve of the FW de Klerk Foundation’s 20th anniversary, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees has taken a number of important decisions. These are to ensure that the Foundation continues to play a significant role deep into the future in supporting the Constitution, promoting positive inter-community relations and commemorating FW de Klerk’s legacy.

The Foundation has decided to acquire its own offices, where it will establish an FW de Klerk Documentation Centre.   One of the Centre’s core purposes will be to commemorate South Africa’s historic constitutional transformation process between 1990 and 1996, and the role that South Africans from all political parties played in this process.  The Board believes - together with many others in South Africa and throughout the world - that this was one of South Africa’s greatest achievements.

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PHONE: +27 (0) 21 930 36 22
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Cape Town, 7500, South Africa
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P.O. Box 15785, Panorama, 7506, South Africa

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