CAPE TOWN - Former president FW De Klerk says he has no regrets about decisions he had made as South Africa’s last apartheid president.
It’s been 30 years to the day since De Klerk announced the unbanning of the liberation movements, the release of political prisoners and the return of political exiles.
“Knowing what I know today I would have made that same speech 30-years ago. It had to be done. It had to be done to bring justice to all,” De Klerk said.
De Klerk says he wanted to avoid a civil war and bloodshed.
He says while international pressure kept them on their toes, it wasn't the reason for his historic announcement.
Nine days after the announcement Nelson Mandela was freed from prison after 27-years.
“I could not have made that speech if the Berlin wall did not come down with the communist threat which was more real than people nowadays believe it wasn’t just reds under beds. There was a real threat,” De Klerk said.
He says when he met Mandela for the first time, he was struck by his character and honesty.
De Klerk says it’s a fallacy that he didn't apologise for the wrongs of apartheid.
“Apartheid was wrong apartheid, was morally unjustifiable,” he said.
Despite Mandela having both praised and criticised De Klerk publicly, they never harboured any grudges.