Silent majority must speak out against racism - De Klerk

2016-02-02 15:40
The last apartheid-era president FW de Klerk. (Jenni Evans, News24)

The last apartheid-era president FW de Klerk. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - If FW de Klerk did give leadership lessons, he would ask political leaders not to feed racism.

"The present political leaders, including President Jacob Zuma, should avoid utterances which actively feed racism," said De Klerk on the sidelines of a conference marking his historic speech on February 2 1990, in which he announced the unbanning of the ANC and the SACP, and promised to free Nelson Mandela from jail.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that De Klerk was giving DA leader Mmusi Maimane leadership lessons - a claim both have denied.

De Klerk, who was the last apartheid president, and co-winner with Nelson Mandela of the Nobel Peace Prize, said it was time for the "silent majority" to stand up against hate speech and racism that was dividing the country.

"We dare not allow that the debate is dictated by extremists on the left and right, black and white.

"I don't think it's the majority. The majority want South Africa to succeed," he said.

"If there ever was a time for the silent majority to stand up, it is now."

At the beginning of the year, Twitter and Facebook feeds buzzed with angry debates sparked by KwaZulu-Natal woman Penny Sparrow calling black people "monkeys" in a post complaining about beach litter.

The post put wind in the sails of a growing movement pointing out instances where racism is still firmly entrenched in South African society, in spite of the fall of the apartheid administration.

An ANC supporter and Gauteng department of arts and culture employee, Velaphi Khumalo, was also rounded on for allegedly posting that white people should be killed.

Media personality Gareth Cliff also entered the fray with a comment that people didn't understand free speech, and found himself axed from his position as a judge of talent show Idols.

He has since won a court case compelling M-Net to reinstate him.

The foundation named after De Klerk has already taken issue with comments on social media by reporting 45 tweets it believes incite extreme violence against white South Africans to the SA Human Rights Council.

De Klerk said Sparrow's comments were clearly racist, but were not a majority view.

But passing a law against racism would be dangerous because of the broad definition of racism.

Current laws against hate speech were enough, he said.

"I think we will be on very thin ice to make laws on racism."

De Klerk was expected to deliver his address at 15:00.

Read more on:    fw de klerk  |  racism

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.