De Klerk’s death evoked memories of “unsolved pain” in South Africa

For the murdered activist’s son, South Africa’s Lucanio Calata, the death of De Klerk, the last president of the apartheid system, represents a missed opportunity. “He’s gone, he’s gone with the answers we need,” Carata said.

Calata’s father Fort was killed by the apartheid death squad. 36 years have passed and no one has been brought to justice. Most of Calata’s anger is attributed to the ruling African National Congress’s agreement on a moratorium on prosecutions of apartheid crimes, which he said sold “the blood of our father.”

His response to De Klerk’s death also reflected the public’s great contradiction with the man who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for negotiating the transition to democracy, but he was ultimately responsible for the regime’s brutality as president. .

De Klerk’s foundation said he will be buried privately in a family-only ceremony on Sunday. President Cyril Ramaphosa faced De Klerk in the negotiations to end apartheid 30 years later, said that the South African flag should be lowered at half-mast before the funeral, and a national memorial service will be held later to commemorate his role as the former vice president. identity of. Under the leadership of Mandela.

A few hours after De Klerk’s death, his foundation was established A video On his website, he apologized for the “pain, injury, insult and damage” caused by apartheid.

Dale McKinley, a researcher and author who studies South Africa’s transition issues, said that even during the transition to democracy, some people think that De Klerk is “a man who speaks well but has an iron fist behind it” and is negotiating Use suppression when proceeding.

In 1968, students in Johannesburg protested against apartheid. South Africa is engrossed in the debate over FW de Klerk’s legacy © AP

He added that with increasing dissatisfaction with democracy in recent years, this view is now “especially prevalent among young people”. “People are very eager to uncover the complete history… part of the transition agreement is not to take the skeleton out of the closet.”

More broadly, De Klerk’s legacy “is of course questioned,” he said. “The ANC, regardless of its own problems and factional struggles, still regards FW de Klerk as a helper and deserves recognition,” others would think he avoided the bloody end of apartheid, he said. At the same time, “a lot of white South Africans think he sold them out.”

Although an investigation in 1993 found that security forces had killed the “Craddock Four” and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the murder of Calata’s father and three other men was one of a series of apartheid crimes that have never been prosecuted. one. In 1999 refused to pardon their killers. De Klerk attended a meeting of the Apartheid National Security Council, which called for the “expulsion” of militants.

The De Klerk Foundation confirmed in July this year that “an informal agreement was reached between the leadership of the ANC and the former staff of the pre-1994 government to suspend prosecutions”.

This month, South African Attorney General Ronald Lamola (Ronald Lamola) said that a judge will lead an investigation into why the prosecution was postponed, but he did not confirm whether the investigation will be made public. “Like many other South Africans, I feel betrayed,” said Yasmin Sooka, a human rights lawyer who worked at TRC, of ​​the lack of justice.

“Craddock Foursome”. In 1985, Calata Fort (second from right) and three other militants were killed by national security forces.No one was brought to justice © The Washington Post/Getty Images

After failing to prosecute corruption under Zuma, the credibility of the South African judicial system was threatened. “South Africa has a culture of impunity,” Carata said. “The root of the lack of accountability stems from our past-the past of apartheid.”

Although the video was released after his death, many people said that De Klerk tried to cover up the past. In his last few years, he expressed what he expressed in TRC-apartheid is wrong, but it is not a crime against humanity. “Unless we ask the court to confirm that apartheid is a crime against humanity, the apartheid country is a criminal country and a death squad is formed… The narrative will be about 20 years later and none of this will happen,” Sooka said.

Suka said that De Klerk also has a case to answer the 1993 raid he authorized, in which five children were killed in bed, and his government was involved in so-called “black to black” political violence when the apartheid system collapsed. .

Calatas may not have done justice yet. The South African National Prosecution Service has informed the family that it will state whether it will file a lawsuit in the case next month. If not, Calata will continue to fight.

“If it means I have to do it for another 20 or 30 years, that’s what I will do,” he said. He said that as a whole, South Africa “sit back and watch the unresolved problems-unresolved pain.” “At least for my family, there is a little light [of hope] So that this may end soon. ”

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