Ricochet News

De Klerk road naming: “I did not ask for it” - FW

By Charl Bosch - Feb 3, 2015
De Klerk road naming: “I did not ask for it” - FW

Former President FW de Klerk has hit out at critics saying that he never asked for a street in Cape Town to be named after him.

De Klerk’s statement comes after Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille announced on January 19th that the renaming of Table Bay Boulevard to FW de Klerk Boulevard had been given the green light. The proposal has received widespread condemnation with members from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), South African Communist Party (SACP) and COSATU lambasting the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led province for naming a road after the country’s last Apartheid leader.

Speaking at a conference of his foundation in the city yesterday, 25 years after announcing in Parliament that his eventual successor, Nelson Mandela, would be released, de Klerk said that certain elements within the ruling party, wants his contribution to the country’s democracy eradicated.

“There are elements within the ANC who want to write off all non-ANC people in the country. If the overwhelming majority supports it [the name change], I will accept it,” Eyewitness News quoted him as saying.

The move has however been welcomed by others with struggle icon, Ahmed Kathrada, saying that de Klerk “took bold steps” in reuniting the country. Similarly, Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, said that “history would remember De Klerk for standing boldly in the face of white supremacists”.

“His actions were out of the ordinary notwithstanding the weight of internal resistance, the growing strength of the international anti-apartheid movement and the talks about the negotiation process,” CityPress quoted him.

“Undoubtedly there were detractors within his own party ranks but he remained resolute that the only way forward was through national reconciliation, rebuilding the South African nation and giving peace a chance,” he said. De Klerk must be saluted for reading that historic moment that acknowledged what Madiba said that ‘only the free can negotiate’ and indeed the icon of our struggle walked free seven days after De Klerk’s announcement.”