This is not an honour that Mr De Klerk sought – and he is not at all sure that places and streets should be renamed after living people.
However, he has decided to accept the honour in the spirit in which it was offered. The Foundation also thinks that it is important that recognition should be given to the fact that our new non-racial constitutional democracy was not created by the ANC alone. Other parties also played an indispensible role in helping to establish our new society.
Mr De Klerk regrets that this matter has been turned into a political controversy by the ANC in the Western Cape. Mr De Klerk – and other parties – in a spirit of reconciliation – has never objected to the far more numerous cases where places and streets have been renamed after ANC figures. The ANC’s attitude is an indication of the degree to which it has deviated from President Mandela’s fine example in promoting reconciliation. In his message to FW de Klerk on his 70th birthday, Mr Mandela gave generous recognition to the indispensable role that he had played in helping to create our new society.
There is also widespread support for the City’s decision to honour Mr De Klerk. 85% of respondents to a recent poll were in favour of the honour. It should also be remembered that in the 1994 election 53% of the voters of the Western Cape voted for Mr De Klerk and for the New National Party.
Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
29 January 2015