[DEBATE] : FW De Klerk finds a way to redeem Apartheid and repeat objectionable stereotypes about migrants
tintinyana at gmail.com
Sat May 31 12:59:57 BST 2008
DE KLERK - “APARTHEID WAS DEVELOPMENTAL:
Apartheid ‘not root of SA riots’
South Africa’s former President FW De Klerk has told the BBC that the
heritage of apartheid cannot be blamed for this month’s xenophobic
“It would be a great over simplification to blame everything which is
wrong… on the heritage of the past,” he said.
The last apartheid-era leader said unemployment and the high crime
rate were the main reasons for the violence.
More than 70,000 people have fled the attacks and more than 50 died.
Mr De Klerk became president in 1989 and started to dismantle the
apartheid regime, which ended five years later.
Aid workers in South Africa have been pushing for disaster zones to be
declared in the areas worst hit by recent xenophobic attacks.
Correspondents say there is growing concern about the conditions in
which tens of thousands of displaced people are living.
Most are still sheltering in community halls, churches and police
stations and some are sleeping out in the open.
The government says it is working urgently to provide more suitable
accommodation for them.
In an interview on the BBC’s Today programme, Mr De Klerk said that
the attacks against foreigners were “unacceptable” and high
unemployment amongst black South Africans and crime were to blame.
South Africa: about 38,000
Western Cape: 19,654
KwaZulu Natal: 1,650-1,750
Figures from Ocha
Figures from the Red Cross
He said that immigrants were “prepared to work at lower wages”.
“Therefore many black South Africans feel that these people are
robbing them of their jobs and of their food and of their livelihoods
so I think that’s the main root cause,” he said.
He said that crime could not be solely blamed on foreigners.
“But there’s no doubt that a substantial percentage of the illegal
immigrants are involved in the high crime rates which we have.”
He rejected that claim that the legacy of apartheid was to blame for
many of the country’s current social problems.
Under apartheid, people were deprived of their full political rights,
but not on a “socio-economic basis”, he said.
“It was quite developmental if you look at what has happened in the
educational field, in the field of housing - I’m now talking from the
1960s to the 1990s, the establishment of new universities, the
creation of opportunities, small business development,” he said.
Critics of apartheid have argued that black South Africans at the time
received an inferior education - many young people boycotted school to
fight apartheid - and black ownership of commercial business was
prohibited or highly regulated.
Apartheid is often blamed as a means of “political expediency”, Mr De
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“Only intellectuals love poverty. Poor people love luxury” (from a
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