From the desk of the General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana
11 November 2021
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) joins the rest of South Africans in expressing our condolences to the De Klerk family on the passing away of Mr F.W. de Klerk.
Mr De Klerk will be remembered for the decision he took to persuade his ruling National Party to abandon the injurious policies of apartheid that dehumanised millions of his fellow citizens for decades in what was described by the United Nations as a crime against humanity. The SACC embraced the changes that Mr De Klerk brought about, beginning with the unbanning of liberation movements and the release of political prisoners-and notably Nelson Mandela who spent his first night of freedom at the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former General Secretary of the SACC who defended the churches against the apartheid government’s attacks; in his famous statement to the Eloff Commission, titled “Divine Intention”.
We are heartened that Mr De Klerk departed in a spirit that was at one with the best instincts of justice, recognising and admitting the horrible injustices of apartheid.
Of course there may be reason to also look at those aspects of apartheid dirty tricks that he may have been part of in government, but this is not the time. The country remains dangerously splintered and variously wounded; and his passing should rather offer us all a moment to pluck up the courage to build a common South African identity beyond the apartheid legacy of racial and ethnic divisions that now define our politics.
We extend our pastoral hand to the De Klerk family and the De Klerk Foundation at this difficult time.
—ENDS—Media enquiries:Khuthalani KhumaloSACC Communications ConsultantSouth African Council of ChurchesTel: 084 074 1285 | Email: email@example.com