Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party
On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I extend our deepest condolences on the passing of South Africa’s former President, Mr FW de Klerk. This is a painful moment, not only for his family, but for our entire nation. We have lost a champion of democratic principles and constitutionalism who served South Africa long after his retirement from governance.
I had the privilege of serving in the Government of National Unity with then Deputy President de Klerk as we laid the foundation of South Africa’s democracy. I respected his commitment to the wellbeing of our country and recognised in him the characteristics of a patriot.
I shall never forget his words upon receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on 10 December 1993. He spoke about the fundamental change of heart that became the driving force towards a new dispensation. He said, “It was not a sudden change, but a process – a process of introspection, of soul searching; of repentance; of realisation of the futility of ongoing conflict, of acknowledgement of failed policies and the injustice it brought with it.”
This was not merely a change of his own heart, but a change in our entire country. History bestowed on former President de Klerk the unique privilege of taking us across the threshold. In announcing the release of Mr Mandela and other political prisoners, and the unbanning of political parties, on 2 February 1990, he opened the way for inclusive democratic negotiations. It was the beginning of our shared future.
We thank the Almighty that former President de Klerk had the opportunity to see South Africa become a country of freedom in which every citizen has equal rights.
As we honour his contribution to a just society, we mourn his passing. May Mrs Elita de Klerk, his children and grandchildren be comforted in this painful time. We extend our deepest sympathies.