tv Inside Story LINKTV November 15, 2021 5:30am-6:00am PST
hello. welcome to the program. the death of south africa's last white president has drawn mixed reactions after he was jointly awarded the nobel peace prize with nelson mandela for disbanding the system of racial segregation known as apartheid. some praised him for ending white minority rule while others called him a traitor. he remains one of the most -- it remains one of the most divided and unequal countries in the world. >> this was the moment when south africa's last white leader signaled the end of apartheid. >> i wish to put it plainly, that the government has taken a firm decision to release mr. mandela unconditionally. i'm serious.
>> in a speech to parliament, de klerk stunned the world, freeing nelson mandela and expanding civil rights, leading to south africa's first democratic elections. >> i have no doubt in my mind it would have reached the point that the majority of all the people in south africa would have taken hands with the total international community and would have united behind one common goal, and that is to overthrow the regime. we avoided that. >> there's mr. mandela, mr. nelson mandela, a free man. >> within days, nelson mandela walked free after 20 years in prison. >> i thank you. >> fw had come to realize in his
own words that to cling to power for the white population group means facing a revolution. >> we must find a way to stand as blacks and as whites and live together in peace. >> revolution came -- revolution almost came anyway. the black townships erupted in violence. white farmers threatened revenge. lengthy negotiations resulted in a constitution and -- a non-racial constitution and mostly peaceful elections in 1994. millions voted in the african national congress and nelson mandela as president. as the men who covert the end of apartheid, de klerk showed the nobel peace prize with mandela. he later shared the -- chaired
the government front. history will remember a leader who knew that white supremacy will run its course. >> fw de klerk recorded a message just before his death, apologizing to those he felt -- those who felt he had not accepted responsibility for the damage caused by racial segregation. >> in this last message, let me repeat, i, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown, and indians in south africa. >> the president says de klerk helped put south africa on the path to democracy. >> he was a leader of a party
that was largely discredited in relation to the role that the party played in forcing apartheid, but he had the courage to step away from the part that his party that he led had embarked upon. >> let's bring in our guests. all of them join us from johannesburg. a senior research fellow at africa and asia dialogues, a political analyst and author of "no white lies: black politics and white power," and the president of congress for the people and member of south african parliament. welcome to you all. why is it that people in south
africa continue to be divided about the legacy of de klerk? >> former president de klerk has been a divisive figure for the fact that he was the leader of the dominant political party. it would -- it was inevitable his death would court divided opinion. him being the last apartheid president, again, it became obvious that at his death, he was likely to court controversy. currently, the majority of south africans lived through a very difficult time during apartheid, and he was part and parcel of that, unfortunately. he did lead discussions later on
with the people's congress led by nelson mandela, but the majority of people remember him as one of the architects and perpetrators of those crimes, an accusation which i in his life he refused to accept, hence the controversy surrounding his death -- an accusation which later in his life he refused to accept. >> that statement where he says he apologized to those who felt he did not come about in the strongest terms to apologize, but the general sense remains the same --de klerk missed an opportunity to apologize for apartheid. >> yes, thank you. he was certainly no hero.
he was a racist murderer of an apartheid regime that shattered the lines -- the lives of millions, and he had multiple opportunities to apologize, and he never took accountability. the son of one of the victims that he killed released a statement yesterday saying that it is a great pity that he died without ever having to account for great sins against the black people of this country, and i, for one, would not accept his apology. in fact, in life and in death, he subscribed to the tenets of white supremacy because in that apology speech, he actually criticized the democratically elected government on how to run a country. the arrogance of that in life and done to death, and i agree
with the sentiments of the leader ofhe pac. today, we should be mourning, and our hearts should be with the families of black south africans that were maimed and murdered. they say he should not be buried on african soil, that he should be put out in the water but not on african seas, and that is a sentiment shared by many families who still mourn today. their babies, their fathers and mothers, who have been buried as a result of what he did. >> many see him as the south african president who oversaw the transition to democracy. others say this is someone who was instrumental in
segregationist apartheid. what does it say about south africa? does it say that the wounds of the past still remained there in the country? >> i think it is really important when we look at the life of an individual to see what should he have prioritized. we were more concerned about how to get out of the trap apartheid had placed all over us. many people had already lost their lives along the road we covered, but there was also a huge risk that if we did not manage the transition out of apartheid, we could also contribute to the deaths of
millions of black, white, colored sections of the population. the choice we had to make was to manage the transition such that we saved as many lives as was possible and saved an opportunity that could make it possible for us to reconstruct south african society and enable us to enjoin -- enable us to join a community of nations and remember it forever as a decoration rather than a disaster, all of us. >> ok, i see your point. this argument that at least the
transition saved us from a descent into anarchy and a civil war -- should it be seen as a credit for someone like fw de klerk? >> not entirely, but suffice to say that he was much more braver than many of his predecessors. it took a much more difficult decision. if he was can -- if he was coerced to do so because of the pac or not, but he did take the decision. but the contribution towards the renovation of freedom in south africa i don't think can be attributed to fw de klerk or any of the africana leaders. it was the continued pressure from the ac, pan african
conference, and others that led them to begin to embrace a new political objective. he managed to take a difficult position pursuing constructive democratic negotiations with the black leaders. >> mikhail gorbachev was termed the party leader of the soviet union, but he is most remembered as terminating paris troika that led to the end of the so-called war. when it comes to de klerk, do you think if he had came up just come out and said i'm sorry, but apartheid was a crime against humanity, that would have made a massive change? >> yes, perhaps, but apologies are not enough, and white south
africans in the country and their leaders have never apologized and made reparations for apartheid. it if lack south africans, they remained landless in their own land. their economic fortunes are devastated. we are the most unequal society in the world. what a leader that fw de klerk should have done is to structurally transform the economy to return stolen land, to transform the economic fortunes of black people, but that has not happened. apology alone is not sufficient. it would be the most genuine reparations for the grievous
harm done to black south africans. i also want to say something, it is very dangerous because he was forced -- the apartheid regime had lost legitimacy. there was internal strife and international pressure, and that was the force. even about the fact that fw de klerk made the reforms so the africana could be included in the dispensation, and that is the truth that we should be writing in our history books. >> what does his passing mean for the future of south africa? is it likely to further raise the debate about how to move forward and turn the chapter of the years of apartheid?
>> many of us who embraced the revolution of our country leaved that it gave us an opportunity to preserve available resources and use them to educate and train large sections of the population of our country so that we could use them and use their capacities to reconstruct our society and rebuild it on the foundations of what we inherited from the apartheid government. for no one can deny that we inherited a country with infrastructure on which we could
have built an advanced much, much quicker than most other african countries, and in this way, we would have salvaged huge numbers of the people of our country, and we would have made what seemed to be a difficult situation -- we could have moved it much faster. >> i can see which direction you are going. the general frustration in south africa now, a result of the recent municipal elections, particularly the frustration against the anc -- does it give us any indication about the tough times ahead for a country like south africa? >> well, it does give indication of tough times ahead, but it
also presents another impression, which is that the south african democracy is maturing. people now do see alternatives in terms of their political choices, and it was demonstrated this time around that most people, although most decided to stay away from elections, but it is a majority democracy, and the fact that the ac is losing majority in terms of control in government in several municipalities, that in itself is a positive, i guess, from an african standpoint that -- from a south african standpoint that you will have a peaceful transition for the majority of people in south africa, but i want to comment on the point that was made about fw de klerk and him being the person who ushered in democracy. we have to give him that credit.
he actually assisted. mandela said the same. >> although you might have those who would argue on the other hand that there were some shortfalls in the progression toward democracy and that the reconciliation was not completed and that a lot had to be done to try to take the country into a new direction. now you have the passing of de klerk, the major setback that the anc suffered. have you had africans and south africans saying our hope was to see a vibrant democracy that could translate into a positive outcome for the south africans and what we are seeing instead is a pervasive culture of corruption particularly within the anc, leaving many people to gravel about how to move forward? >> yes. i mean, the corruption is a problem, but it should not be
painted as a black government thing. we saw corruption in white governments before 1994. it was grand corruption. that said, i think the anc has lost trust and the voters are realizing that. i think the problem is more to do with the fact with the national consciousness because the national consciousness is salvation. all of that concerns black people and inequality and white people and their privilege. perhaps parties to the left with black consciousness have that knowledge. a government that puts the
stability of the black child first. the job now is to face the inconvenient truth that there was no real transformation. for the majority of people, the constitution has not helped them. they live jobless, landless, and in deep poverty. >> if you look at the outcome of the latest municipal elections, you will see that anc was not the only one to suffer setback. the democratic allies themselves , and what is interesting is that the economic freedom fighters are gaining momentum, which could give you an indication that south africa is moving towards what could be termed another chapter for the anc itself. >> the unfortunate thing is that
conditions in our country do not favor any particular party. it is actually hitting at all of us that when we should have rallied together and taken full advantage of the opportunity of using resources. we still had sections that wanted to get for themselves, and this continued division of south african society is not to our advantage. what is to our advantage is if we can pull ourselves together and say, look, now is an opportunity for equality. let's give everybody the same
and equal opportunity and then -- >> speaking about equality, it is said that education of the country is maturing, democracy is maturing, but do you think south africa is ready for the concept of a coalition government? >> at the international level, i'm not sure if we are ready, but at the municipal level, they have already started negotiation , so they are ready for that, but to me, what is encouraging is the willingness of the bigger parties to accept defeat and to accept that they are to enter into negotiations with smaller parties, but i will have to disagree about the eff showing it is moving faster than other parties. i don't think so. eff has not been even a mandate by anyone.
they have managed to garner a number of votes, but i'm not sure if the eff is growing and there is favor toward the eff. it remains a strong party, but to me, the majority of what is happening is encouraging. a lot of people are disgruntled by what is going on, but i think for an african country to have such a vibrant democracy and vibrant competition for political power is really encouraging. >> unfortunately, we are running out of time, but i promise you next time we will have another episode to talk about south africa. really appreciate your insight, and thank you for watching. you can see the program any time by visiting our website or going to our facebook page. you can also join the conversation on twitter.