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  • Written by  Business Day
  • Published in In the News
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De Klerk stands firm on denial of dirty tricks

Former president FW de Klerk yesterday swore by his statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission 10 years ago, in which he refused to accept responsibility for deeds such as murder and assassinations under apartheid because they were not a reasonable interpretation of the then government?s policies.
Former president FW de Klerk yesterday swore by his statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission 10 years ago, in which he refused to accept responsibility for deeds such as murder and assassinations under apartheid because they were not a reasonable interpretation of the then government?s policies.

He reiterated his position that he was prepared to take responsibility for actions that were committed within those accepted policies. He said in 12 years on the State Security Council he had never participated in discussions or been part of decisions to murder or commit gross violations of human rights.

De Klerk then demanded prominent corrections to recent news reports claiming his former law and order minister, Adriaan Vlok, and former police chief Johan van der Merwe had implicated him in the commission of apartheid atrocities.

He told a media conference that both Vlok and Van der Merwe had, through their lawyer, denied reports that they had implicated de Klerk. He also said National Prosecuting Authority spokes-man Panyaza Lesufi had also denied they had involved the former president. Vlok and Van der Merwe have been charged with conspiracy to murder the director-general in the Presidency, Frank Chikane.

De Klerk said the reports in the Mail & Guardian and the Sunday Times, which were ?based on confidential sources?, said that he was in the dock with Vlok and Van der Merwe and that they had turned against him.

?The general and widespread effect of these articles was the dissemination in SA and overseas of perceptions that I had committed perjury when I told the commission under oath that I had not known of such actions , been involved in, or known of, the perpetration of gross violations of human rights under the previous government. The stories have done my reputation immense harm; they try to make it difficult for me to play a constructive role nationally and internationally; and they have the very real potential of seriously and negatively affecting my material interests,? De Klerk said .

He said the press continued with the allegations out of a ?malevolent? hope that Vlok and Van der Merwe?s evidence would incriminate him. ?The reality is that there are clearly many people in the media and elsewhere who hope that I will, after all, be revealed a villain.?

He said an analysis of SA?s history showed repeated attempts to strip him, and the 70% of whites who had voted for a negotiated settlement, ?of an honourable place at the table as co- creators? of the new SA. ?After the truth commission the tendency has been to relegate whites to a position morally as second-class citizens.?

On what actions he intended taking De Klerk said he had asked his attorneys to demand that the Mail & Guardian and the Sunday Times ?either place full and prominent corrections of the unfair perceptions that their unfounded reports have generated or that they allow me sufficient prominent space to respond to them myself?. The Mail & Guardian had accepted and had invited him to write a reply in their edition next week.

He warned against further prosecutions that could bring a new straitjacket of persecutions and retribution .

He denied reports that he had never apologised for apartheid, saying he had done so to the TRC and had taken steps to end apartheid.

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