De Klerk: Mandela not really a saint

2012-04-09 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Former president Nelson Mandela was not “a saint” as some people believed and had been a “cruel and unfair” political opponent, former president FW de Klerk said.

Speaking in Johannesburg at the weekend, De Klerk also described Mandela as “one of the biggest South African leaders of my generation” and said they had clashed repeatedly.

He said he did not agree with today’s widespread portrayal of Mandela as a saint. At the same time, De Klerk said Madiba had integrity, was a good communicator, charming and someone of stature, who was able to keep the ANC unified through the most difficult times.

He also spoke of other politicians like former president PW Botha, saying Botha had ruled through fear rather than consensus, but was highly functional and capable.

De Klerk also had praise for former Russian president Michail Gorbachev and said he was responsible for changing the world.

— Rapport.

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