Former South Africa President De Klerk dies at age 85
Former South African President FW De Klerk, the last leader under Apartheid and a key actor in the country’s transition to democracy, has died, his foundation has announced.
“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former president FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”
He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren.
Referred to as “the last white ruler of South Africa,” De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Nelson Mandela “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”
On 2 February 1990, South African President FW de Klerk delivered a speech at the opening of the 1990 session of the Parliament of South Africa.
He announced sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from apartheid to constitutional democracy. The reforms included the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC), The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other anti-apartheid organizations, the release of political prisoners -including Nelson Mandela- the end of the state of emergency and a moratorium on the death penalty.
According to his foundation, De Klerk’s actions and speech marked the official end of segregation policies and the official start of the negotiations that led to a constitutional democracy with equal rights for all South Africans.
He was president from September 1989 until May 1994 and joined Mandela’s government of national unity as one of two deputy presidents in after the April 1994 democratic elections.
The family will, in due course, make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements. May his soul rest in eternal peace.