Denying apartheid was crime against humanity is treasonous - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses MP's in the National Assembly
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses MP's in the National Assembly
Image: Esa Alexander

To deny that apartheid was a crime against humanity is treasonous.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who on Thursday used his response to the State of the Nation Address debate to address the debate around comments made by FW de Klerk and his foundation that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.

“Apartheid was so immoral in its conception and so devastating in its execution that there is no South African living today who is not touched by its legacy,” Ramaphosa said to loud applauds.

“I would even go on to say that to deny this, in my view, is treasonous.”

The former deputy president FW de Klerk came under immense scrutiny following the EFF’s protest, which delayed the Sona, where they argued that De Klerk was an apartheid apologist and shouldn’t be invited to the proceedings of a democratic parliament.It was in reference to a TV interview he did about two weeks prior when he disputed that apartheid was a crime against humanity. De Klerk said during the interview that apartheid was not a genocide and that more people died during so-called black-on-black violence just before 1994 than during apartheid.

De Klerk ’s foundation came to his defence and also said the notion that apartheid was a crime against humanity was itself a “Soviet agitprop” – a propaganda to agitate. This angered a lot of black people, from ordinary citizens to political parties and Struggle icons’ foundations such as the Desmond and Leah Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who called for the FW de Klerk Foundation to apologise and withdraw its remarks.

De Klerk this week withdrew a statement by his foundation which he said had caused “confusion, anger and hurt” for which he was apologising. The EFF rejected the apology is only for the statement issued after Sona and not the views held by De Klerk.

Ramaphosa said that it was inherently a crime against humanity even before it was declared so by the United Nations in 1973.

“The United Nations, the family of nations of the entire world is made up of people from all over the world and they could never have been hoodwinked, they could never have been deceived or influenced by anyone, they knew as they looked at this country that this was a country where a great crime was being committed against the majority of the people of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

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