FW de Klerk Says Nelson Mandela Was ‘Brutal And Unfair’

Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk hold their hands high as they address a huge crowd of people in front of the Union Building after the first presidential inauguration in 1994

Former South African president FW de Klerk has said Nelson Mandela was a “brutal and unfair” political opponent and not a “holy man”, triggering a war of words with the ruling African National Congress party.
Mr de Klerk, 76, the country’s last white ruler who in 1993 jointly won a Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Mandela, said the anti-apartheid hero was a principled man of “stature and strength,” attributable to his aristocratic upbringing in a royal family of the Xhosa tribe.
But he was not as saintly as he seemed, Mr de Klerk said in a speech about world leaders he has known at a club in the affluent Sandton area of Johannesburg.
“I do not subscribe to the general hagiography surrounding Mandela” he said, reflecting on their tense negotiations over democratic reforms. “He was by no means the avuncular and saintlike figure so widely depicted today”.
Mr de Klerk spoke glowingly about Baroness Thatcher and her policies, praising her as a great leader who “took on the unions and won – and subsequently she took on the Argentinians and beat them as well”.
“In all this she showed far greater determination and courage than any prime minister since Winston Churchill”, Mr de Klerk said.
ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said Mr de Klerk was poisoning South Africa with his remarks about Mr Mandela, The New Age newspaper reported, and could not acknowledge his bravery because he is black.
“De Klerk should acknowledge Mandela and his achievements and understand that his time has passed as a president”, Mr Khoza said.
Mr Mandela, 93, has been in frail health in recent years and has not appeared in public since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Mr de Klerk, who runs a charitable foundation, last month warned against ANC plans for a “second transition”, amid concerns that the country’s post-1994 constitution will be subverted.

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