De Klerk slams 'Afro-pessimists'

2013-05-21 16:30
FW de Klerk (File: Beeld)

FW de Klerk (File: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Under-fire President Jacob Zuma got a little support from an unlikely quarter on Tuesday when former president  FW de Klerk laid into the "prophets of doom" putting down the country.

De Klerk said "Afro-pessimists" did not give the country or the continent enough credit for strides made.

De Klerk acknowledged the country faces "serious international perception problems" but said the country had seen 18 years of almost uninterrupted economic growth.

He added that significant steps had been made in alleviating poverty, improving access to housing, water and electricity.

His comment echoes those of Zuma and the ANC, which have come under a barrage of criticism for failing to tackle corruption, labour violence and unemployment.

But De Klerk was not completely gushing about the government's performance.

"We score badly in those areas of national activity that fall under the responsibility of government," he said.

"We are in the bottom 20% with regard to the quality of education; the business cost of crime; HIV prevalence; and labour market efficiency."

But, he added, the government was aware of these problems and had endorsed a National Development Plan to deal with them.

"Africa and South Africa are on the march," he said.

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