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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 today’s announcement by the current (albeit it embattled) head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Adv Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud against former President Jacob Zuma. This brings to an end a decade of litigation over the initial NPA decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges levelled against former President Zuma. Given the uninspiring record of the NPA in the prosecution of politically-connected individuals, there is perhaps need for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, with the overwhelming public interest and the presence of a vociferous and robust civil society and the possibility of private prosecution, it is hoped that the NPA will be true to its constitutional mandate of prosecuting without fear, favour or prejudice.

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The FW de Klerk Foundation (FWDKF) was established to protect and promote the Constitution. This we do through the work of two Centres: the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) and the Centre for Unity in Diversity (CUD). For 2017 and 2018, the general theme of our work is Property Rights and Land Reform.

The choice of theme by the Foundation preceded the current debate on Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC), sparked by the resolution tabled in Parliament in February 2018. This is in fact testimony of the commitment of the Foundation to land reform and the institutionalisation of property rights for all South Africans.  Furthermore, we believe that the Constitution offers sufficient means and measures to effect land reform within the precepts of section 25 and we remain studiously committed to its implementation as it stands.   

As a Foundation with its two Centres, we offer this position on EWC as a contribution to the essential and ongoing debate in this regard. This position will be extended as the debate continues.


The new Ramaphosa Cabinet is one of promise and compromise. The Gordhans, Nenes and Hanekoms indicate that something new is possible on the economic front. The markets have also taken note, and the Rand is stronger than it was before Nene was fired. On the other hand, the Mabuzas, Dlaminis and Gigabas show that the struggle against state capture, corruption and poor governance and management is far from over.

After the recent vote on expropriation without compensation many South Africans feel discouraged and betrayed. Many thought the ANC-decision of December 2017 would never be implemented. Others were skeptical about Ramaphosa from the beginning - he, after all, inherited a divided and rotten ANC. The question is: should ordinary South Africans give the new government a chance?

My answer is: Yes, BUT ...

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Since his narrow victory and election as president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa has had to consolidate his power base cautiously and slowly. He has had to walk the tightrope of fighting corruption and state capture and providing good governance on the one hand, and building unity and striving for reconciliation within the ANC, on the other. In politics, compromise is part and parcel of what any leader faces. The Cabinet appointed yesterday carries the hallmark of this dilemma.

The good news is that he got rid of the worst of the Zumaites: Bongo, Brown, Mahlobo, Maswanganyi, Mbalula, Mkhize, Muthambi, Nhleko, Van Rooyen and Zwane. In this way, he “cleansed” strategic (especially economically-related) portfolios and replaced them with able, experienced and loyal ANC leaders. Examples of this trend are Pravin Gordhan (Public Enterprises), Nhlanhla Nene (Finance), Naledi Pandor (Higher Education and Training), Lindiwe Sisulu (International Relations and Cooperation), Gwede Mantashe (Mineral Resources), Derek Hanekom (Tourism), Blade Nzimande (Transport), Bheki Cele (Police) and Jeff Radebe (Energy). For the same reason, he kept some able and loyal ministers in their portfolios (such as Angie Motshekga in Basic Education).


Twenty-four years ago when we established our new non-racial democracy we hoped that South Africa would settle down to the humdrum process of becoming a normal society.   We hoped that we would be less ‘interesting’ than we had been during the preceding 30 years.

We were wrong.  South Africa was never destined to be a boring country.

The first ‘interesting’ development came only two years after 1994 when the ANC under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki dumped the RDP - the socialist Reconstruction and Development Progamme that had been strongly supported by the South African Communist Party and the trade union confederation COSATU.  In its place the ANC adopted the neo-liberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution programme, known as GEAR.

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Millions of South Africans are celebrating the departure of Mr Jacob Zuma, albeit under great duress, with an initial intransigence and a final goodbye just before 23h00 on 14 February. The nation has suffered politically, economically and socially, during his corrupt, strongman and divisive time in office. 

The FW de Klerk Foundation is delighted that change is on the horizon and congratulates the Acting President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa. He has the weighty task to undo the legacies of his predecessor and set South Africa on a course of unity and renewal.  

The odds were stacking up against Mr Zuma in the last few days and hours leading to his resignation, two hours short of a midnight deadline set by his colleagues in the ANC. The well-known saying, “…was he pushed, or did he jump?” comes to mind. Increasingly it is being revealed that behind-the-scenes activity indicates an ANC NEC that developed a remarkable unity on the imperative for Zuma to go. Added to this development was the possibility of interparty cooperation regarding a motion of no confidence. Perhaps this demonstrates a maturing of the democratic project in South Africa.

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On February 2, 1990, to the surprise of both friend and foe - and only four months into his term as president - FW de Klerk announced that he would unconditionally release Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and unban the ANC and other organisations. The goal was to create the circumstances within which negotiations on the future of South Africa could take place. As a result, he opened the door for a new future and the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him (and Nelson Mandela).

The FW de Klerk Foundation was established in 1999 to promote and protect FW de Klerk’s most important legacy: the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Foundation has since commemorated 2 February 1990 each year by holding a national conference. The themes of these conferences are usually devoted to the most burning issues in the country.

This year’s theme was “Beyond state capture and corruption”. The intention was to move beyond the analysis of the origin and implementation of state capture and to give the audience (and the country and its people) hope for a better future. The words and actions of newly-elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa were cautiously welcomed. One could only wonder how it would be possible to broach such a topic if Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had been elected as ANC president.


The dust has not yet settled over the Constitutional Court (CC) judgment in the University of the Free State (UFS) language policy case. What is the impact of this ruling on the future of Afrikaans as language of instruction, and by implication, the future of other indigenous languages ​​in education? Are we destined for a completely English education system, with mother tongue education tossed into the trashcan of history?

Of course, one should not be alarmist or get discouraged. The CC verdict is, with respect, regrettable and could be challenged on many levels. However, there are some technical issues that could limit the impact thereof in future cases. One of these are the special circumstances at the UFS, for example, the size of the Afrikaans and English classes, which according to the UFS (and CC) would lead to unequal quality of education and would therefore be discriminatory and racist. Another set of facts could provide a different outcome.

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