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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.


Dear President, Mr FW de Klerk, Dear Premier, Mrs Helen Zille,

Dear Excellency, Lord Renwick, who took the long flight to be here with us today, Distinguished friends and partners of the FW de Klerk Foundation,


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you. I also would  like to take the  opportunity to  send President De Klerk and all the  staff of the FW de Klerk Foundation warmest regards from the chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and former President of the German Bundestag, Prof Dr Norbert Lammert.

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The excitement and disappointment (in some quarters) regarding the appointment of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet has settled. A number of articles have already been written about the Cabinet and its strong points, weak points, old members, and new recruits.  The question remains: can the new Cabinet deliver on the President’s promises?

It is essential to remember that the most fundamental change to the new Cabinet is the chairman. How President Ramaphosa will lead- and what he prioritises- will distinguish his Cabinet from that of its predecessor. In addition, what is new is the support he will have. It is now generally understood that the choice of Ministers and deputies was a product of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations with various stakeholders. In the end, of the 28 Ministers, only five are known Zuma supporters (including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who in the recent past has actually become supportive of the Ramaphosa cause). This implies that Ramaphosa has more than 80% of his Cabinet not in opposition to him or his plans. Even though the number of Deputy Ministers was inflated beyond initial plans, it is clear that at most, 12 of the 34 deputies were products of compromise with the Zuptoid faction. This gives Ramaphosa 75% support in the entire group and even more in the actual Cabinet of 28. That is a strong start, especially when one considers the potency of various factions and stakeholders in the ANC alliance.  It is believed that the President (as many before him) will have a smaller, trusted circle, a kitchen Cabinet - and this is where he will start. 

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The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the announcement of the Cabinet last night by President Cyril Ramaphosa. In appointing and restructuring the Cabinet, he made good on at least two promises: a smaller and more efficient Cabinet and the need for honest and efficient members of the highest executive office in the land - however, factoring in the additional Deputy Ministers, it is not a cost-saving in real terms. As expected, it is also not a 100% Ramaphosa first choice Cabinet, but those erstwhile supporters of his predecessor are few and far between. The Cabinet (including the Deputy Ministers) represents a good balance of experience and youth, with the most strategic ministries occupied by people closely aligned to the views and reformist direction of the President. Especially these appointments will instil confidence, not only in the markets and investors, but in the majority of ordinary South Africans.

FWDK Matthew Willman SML

Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as President of the ANC at NASREC in December 2017 was the second great turning point in the history of the new South Africa.  The first had come at the ANC’s elective conference at Polokwane in 2007, when Jacob Zuma had defeated an astonished Thabo Mbeki in the election for the ANC’s presidency.

Zuma’s victory had its roots in a decision that was taken at COSATU’s 9th Congress in 2006 when the organisation decided to launch a battle for the ‘heart and soul’ of the ANC.  It resolved, among other things, that “the working class must re-direct the NDR towards socialism and jealously guard it against opportunistic tendencies that are attempting to wrest it from achieving its logical conclusion, which is socialism”.


The FW de Klerk Foundation wishes to congratulate Mr Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa on being elected unopposed as President of the Republic of South Africa. We have, in the beginning of his tenure as President, often stated that we will support him in his endeavours to re-instate clean government, eradicate State capture and corruption, and rejuvenate the economy. We have also stated that in this, we will watch him closely. 

We therefore welcome his first statements after his election as President, inter alia that he will serve all the people of South Africa, and not just the ANC; that he will (as Madiba), not lose touch with the needs of ordinary South Africans, and that he will collaborate constructively with leaders of opposition parties to find and implement solutions for our predicament. These are the words of a statesman and stand in stark contrast to the views and actions of his predecessor.

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On 22 May, Cyril Ramaphosa will be elected by the National Assembly as President of democratic South Africa, with his inauguration on May 25. According to available information, the Cabinet will be announced on 27 May.

It is therefore too early to speculate on exactly who will be included in the Cabinet and who not. The lists currently doing the rounds have probably been released by various factions to determine which way the wind is blowing - and perhaps influence the wind’s direction.

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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. 


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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